RBS compensation call over shutdown of Sheffield school

Businessman Steve Wilkinson wants compensation from RBS for Brantwood parents, suppliers and teachers
Businessman Steve Wilkinson wants compensation from RBS for Brantwood parents, suppliers and teachers

A Sheffield businessman is calling for a multi-billion pound compensation scheme after fresh revelations about the way RBS treated small companies.

Steve Wilkinson is calling for £200,000 compensation for 110 parents and 25 suppliers at the former Brantwood School in Nether Edge, Sheffield, and a further £500,000 for 25 teachers, after it closed suddenly in February 2010.

The school had been passed to the Global Restructuring Group, a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Scotland.

It valued the school at £600,000 a month after it had been independently valued at £1m.

Further borrowing was declined and days later the school went into administration and closed.

In 2013, in a Government-commissioned report, entrepreneur Lawrence Tomlinson accused the GRG group of deliberately putting some “good and viable” businesses into default so it could make more profit.

Fresh revelations this week appear to add further weight his accusations.

Now Mr Wilkinson is demanding RBS set up a compensation scheme for the estimated 12,000 firms that closed after being put through GRG.

He said: “It is time for the bank to be held to account, the case for compensation is now overwhelming. I believe it is the worst banking scandal ever.

“It hit SMEs during the worst recession on record and affected not just the businesses but the health, homes and relationships of thousands of people, including those involved in Brantwood.”

Mr Wilkinson, who is owed £15,000 as a Brantwood creditor, also plans to sue RBS.

But he is waiting for the Financial Conduct Authority to publish a report on GRG, which has since been disbanded. It was expected in December 2014 but has been repeatedly delayed.

Jon Pain, chief conduct and regulatory affairs officer at RBS, added: “RBS has been very clear that GRG’s role was to protect the bank’s position, where possible by working with distressed businesses to return them to financial health.

“In the aftermath of the financial crisis we did not always meet our own high standards and we let some of our SME customers down.”