Comet collapse leaves taxpayer with £26m loss

Stricken electrical retailer Comet collapsed under almost £200m of losses which will leave the taxpayer facing a £26m hit.

Secured creditors, led by the financial investors who backed Comet, are expected to receive a return of 34p in the pound, while unsecured creditors, including HM Revenue & Customs which is owed £26.1m, will receive nothing.

lordbarnett: This loss is a drop in the ocean compared with the hundreds of billions being lost to the taxpayer by this coalition (hobbits ) on the EU, overseas aid and immigrants.

bill40: Never mind that ,the true loss is all those lazy feckless, feral unemployed this will cause. Lying there watching jeremy Kyle, binge drinking and taking drugs. It's ironic really, it being a given that all unemployed people have a flat screen tv in every room and a sky subscription, the resulting boom in tv sales would probably have saved Comet. On a serious note may I wish anyone going through the trauma of being made unemployed this Christamas all the best for 2013. Don't let the buggers get you down.

$4179596: Look, We are sold on the idea of the bold capitalist who creates 'wealth for all'. We are then, as the little people who actually pay tax, expected to subsidise these 'wealth creators' by giving them the money we paid as tax in order to stop the disaster that would follow if they left? I'm not even mentioning the ongoing torrent of your money into the fiscal hole created by the Wealth Creators who, independently and heroically got it wrong and, to be fair, keep getting it wrong and, to be even fairer, will continue getting wrong as long as you keep paying them to do so. This is not 'the market', this is theft. If you have less than £10 million in hand you should consider kicking, rather than kissing ass. 

adev: We are sold on the idea of the bold capitalist who creates 'wealth for all'. Who is this "we", kimosabe? I'm sold on the idea that capitalism allows ME to go out and create wealth for me, my family and my employees. The real irony is, by the very way you describe capitalism, you are already expecting someone else to go out there and create the wealth for you. That's not capitalism, that's the welfare state.

jasonblacko743:  I bet you are one of those hypocrites that is quick to blame a union for daring to demand better pay and conditions for its workers but is more than happy to allow the taxpayer to bail out your old school mates, and city chums, when they bankrupt Britain and bring the country to its knees? The welfare state didn't cause the collapse of the global financial system and the closure of Comet. Neither did socialism, the unions, the Labour Party or the EEC. I'm sorry to have to tell you that your beloved capitalism has a built in self destruct mode and impoverishes the vast majority of hard working taxpayers about 70 years. The result is that the vast majority of us end up subsidising the super rich who walk away scot free. Then, as the ongoing depression develops and asset prices fall, the same super rich buy up all the assets. The City of London may have appeared to make our country a fortune during the boom. But as tax payers, because of the world financial collapse, we are now on the hook for billions more than the City earned us in the last thirty years. So either you are one of the super rich who stand to personally gain from this current financial catastrophe or you are ill informed with a blinkered view of what caused this problem and what will continue to do so until we as taxpayers finally take back control over the money supply. If you are the latter I suggest you begin your education immediately by consulting 

paulweighell: Piffle! Comet provided good jobs, good items and lots and lots and lots of taxes for years and years.Companies come and go. That is what competition means. It is natural evolution. It is how we progress…

villain57: Except that they avoid paying taxes of course.

spurnlad: Comet is a private company: how on Earth can it possibly cost the taxpayer anything. HM tax bods should get their money first, it should have been paid already. Investors take a risk; this is part of letting the global economy be run by gamblers. If the lose, tough sh1t.  If you placed a bet with William Hill and lost, would the taxpayer pay you out?  Would he fuque, so why should a private company be any different?

DomesticExtremist:  That's wealth creation for you. It only seems to work when profits are privatised and losses are socialised.

paulweighell: o do give it a rest. Comet provided good jobs, good items and lots of taxes for years and years.

picoduarte: So you believe suppliers shouldn't be treated fairly? They always come second to HMRC

cowboyindiana: they do but when a customer's ability to pay become suspect, its not unusual to retain ownership of goods until they are paid for - in effect placing this debt above others.

paulweighell: Ownership of goods is usually retained until the payment has been received whatever the status of the buyer.

bawbag1: Tom Jones incognito?

larkers: All things considered, there is enough here to warrant further enquiry and if necessary a revision to the law. Something about this stinks.

paulweighell: VAT can have as much as a 4 month payment delay from a sale date so the money may not be due until well after the company has none left. PAYE is as much as 6 weeks (from memory) so again a company can have collapsed before the money is even due.

taurog:  "HM Revenue & Customs which is owed £26.1m, will receive nothing." So what will they do about? The taxpayer should be the first to be paid. Change the law to prevent Hailey Acquisitions Limited (HAL) & other similar speculators benefitting from UK companies in trouble. Impose a windfall tax on them now.

Aberrant_Apostrophe: I always thought that HMRC were the first in the queue when companies went belly up?

monkeymagic: Me too, but I believe that was until the implementation of the Enterprise Act 2002.

Riesler: I'm sure there will be plenty there to pay the administrators.

Muttlee2: I see that the taxpayer is still being expected to fork out for the mess caused by incompetent free enterprise.

beejeebers: No;  HMRC  just got caught out being owed money which the smart American operators who ran Comet into the ground ran all the way to the bank with in a slick and sick operation they have had previous practise in doing, and will no doubt repeat of they can find more suitable victims. The problem is with a Government and bureaucracy in the UK who are clueless in terms of business there is no-one to protect the public against  bandits, such as the banks, that run roughshod over them.

jjforest: Never heard that one before. Sounds like Comet was a healthy company making loads until for some inexplicable reason they sold to the Yanks for 2 quid and then the Yanks destroyed it. Wow. I wouldn't let another Yank near a healthy UK business. I was not aware they were doing fine before the £2 sale. Hmmm, wonder why they sold off so low?