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Farron backs local man in franchising debate

May 22, 2007 12:00 AM

Local MP Tim Farron has today spoken in a parliamentary debate on the regulation of the franchising industry to support a constituent who had lost tens of thousands of pounds of his own savings. Paul Wakefield of Ackenthwaite invested over £100,000 in a franchise registered with the British Franchise Association only to discover, having lost his money, that the directors of the parent company of the franchise were in fact banned from holding directorships.

Mr Farron used the debate to call on the BFA to tighten up checks on registered companies to avoid similar misfortune befalling more people in the future, as well as calling on the banks to carry out more stringent checks before issuing loans for these purposes. Mr Farron secured assurances from the Trade and Industry Minister Margaret Hodge that she would be raising the issue at future meetings with representatives from the banks involved and the British Banking Association.

Tim Farron said:

"When I heard Mr Wakefield's story I felt it was important to raise the issue with the Department of Trade and Industry at the earliest possible opportunity.

"He's lost tens of thousands of pounds and I thought it was my job to stand up for him in parliament. I hope this will raise the profile of the issue and prevent similar situations from occurring in the future."

During the debate, DTI Minister Margaret Hodge said:

"The banks involved in this have a moral responsibility to ensure they exercise due diligence in cases like this. I would be happy to raise the issue at my next meeting with the banks and the British Banking Association."

Speaking after the debate, Paul Wakefield commented:

"I am pleased that Tim has raised my case in parliament, and hopefully it will prevent other people from losing thousands of pounds in similar situations in future."