Sheffield businessman’s dismay as report into RBS is delayed

Steve Wilkinson with his Brantwood School and RBS paper trail. Picture: Andrew Roe
Steve Wilkinson with his Brantwood School and RBS paper trail. Picture: Andrew Roe

A Sheffield businessman has hit out after a report into the controversial closure of a private Sheffield school was delayed - hampering his plans to take legal action.

Steve Wilkinson expressed dismay at a decision by the Financial Conduct Authority to push back its report into the activities of the disbanded Global Restructuring Group, a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Scotland, The report, expected in December 2014, is already a year overdue.

The FCA now says it will make an announcement ‘as soon as possible in 2016’.

Brantwood School in Nether Edge closed suddenly in February 2010 with dozens of pupils forced to find alternative schools at short notice.

At the time, chair of governors John Boyington said it was independently valued at £1m and they had been working with NatWest - part of RBS - for months. The Global Restructuring Group became involved, valued the school at £600,00 and further borrowing was declined. Days later the school went into administration and closed.

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

Mr Wilkinson is a creditor in the Brantwood School administration and has plans to sue RBS over the case.

He believes the FCA report will lift the lid on GRG’s methods and could be crucial to any legal action. But a six-year limitation period on him launching a civil claim is looming in February.

He said: “I’m very disappointed the report has been delayed yet again. Time is running out on me - and hundreds of other businesses across the country who were handled by GRG and also believe they have a claim.

The FCA said in a brief update: “ Good progress has been made, and all parties remain keen to complete this complex review quickly. An announcement will be made as soon as possible in 2016.”

RBS, which remains 73 per cent-owned by the taxpayer, declined to comment.