Simon Rigby puts record straight over claims he is facing a bankruptcy hearing in Preston

Simon Rigby has explained his involvement in a bankruptcy case.
Simon Rigby has explained his involvement in a bankruptcy case.

Simon Rigby has hit back at claims he is in court next month in a bankruptcy hearing.

And the businessman, who is currently in dispute with Preston City Council over his running of the Guild Hall, has explained his involvement in proceedings against one of his companies Clifton Quality Meats which went into administration in August last year.

The Blackpool-based meat suppliers went bust despite being given a £500,000 loan to keep it in business - a loan for which Mr Rigby was personal guarantor.

He says that, despite an agreement to repay the debt at a rate of £50,000 a year over 10 years, the lender had now demanded the full amount and had launched a bankruptcy petition to recover the money.

A hearing has been scheduled for July 22 at Preston County Court.

"We are going to pay it - there's no doubt about that," he told the Post. "It's just a question of how. We can't agree on what the repayment terms should be.

"We say £50,000 a year for 10 years. They are saying they want the whole lot now.

"So a judge will decide on what is fair. I have not been called to appear in County Court.

"Both sides are just submitting documentation and the judge will come to a decision based on that.

"Unfortunately two or three others have jumped on the bandwagon and come in on the back of this petition."

Preston Council revealed today it could join in to recover money it claims it is owed by Mr Rigby's organisation over the Guild Hall complex. But a decision has not yet been finalised.

"The scheduled bankruptcy hearing has been brought to our attention," said council leader Coun Matthew Brown.

"It has become apparent that Mr Rigby is responsible for significant debts as personal guarantor and there is an expectation that a number of these creditors will seek to join in on this bankruptcy hearing.

"Unfortunately Preston City Council is among this number, and we are actively considering using this, or any other reasonable means to recover the money owed.

"We hope that Mr Rigby is able to settle these debts and resolution is found."

The council seized back the Guild Hall complex from Mr Rigby last week, with a team of workmen moving in overnight to change the locks.

Businesses in the ground level shopping arcade were allowed back in later in the day, although a nursery owned by Mr Rigby's wife was refused permission to re-open.