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Autumn Statement Comment: Winterhill Largo says retail doldrums here to stay without intervention5th December 2012

David Currie, director of Winterhill Largo, an asset recovery and insolvency support group in Manchester, said: “We need some stability and it would have been good to have seen the Chancellor bring some hope to the stricken commercial property market. Winterhill Largo is often appointed as Law of Property Act (LPA) official receivers to dispose of distressed properties in cases of insolvency. We are busy at the moment, as sadly more and more businesses find themselves in financial distress that they can find no way out of and the retail sector is being particularly hard hit.

“However business premises are increasingly difficult to sell, and in a stagnant market too much cash is tied up in unsold properties instead of being released to be put back into the economy, where it can be lent to businesses and help generate economic recovery.

“Next year is likely to be the same or worse. The high costs of holding an empty property, which include empty rates, security and maintenance, all add up to an unattractive prospect for potential purchasers.

“If George Osborne in today’s Autumn Statement had introduced measures to kick start some much-needed momentum in the market that would have been most welcome. The government’s Homebuyer scheme has created some improvement on the residential side - proof that government initiatives can have a positive effect.

“Meanwhile the retail doldrums seem here to stay without some sort of intervention, and while the banks are not lending, many businesses, as well as individuals, are turning to other forms of lending that is leading them into serious financial trouble.”

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