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Face of Britain's high streets "changing forever" 27 April 2012

Britain’s high streets are “changing forever”, warned the new president of insolvency trade body R3.

Lee Manning – Deloitte restructuring services partner, who today begins his tenure – issued a bleak warning for retailers and urged them to adapt to the new climate.

“The shape of Britain’s High Street is changing forever as it is squeezed by reduced consumer spend and pressures from online competition and out-of-town shopping parks,” said Manning.

“This is a time when retail businesses will have to be nimble and ready to adapt.

“Continuing challenges from our slide back into recession make this an important time to be speaking on behalf of the UK’s insolvency practitioners.”

Manning has previously been in charge of several high-profile retail administrations, including Oddbins and Land of Leather.

He also spelt out his vision for the future of the UK insolvency profession, including tackling uncertainty over administration expenses and boosting the engagement of creditors.

He continued: “Globally, we know our regime compares favourably, for example to the US, but there are changes we can make to facilitate fewer liquidations and increase business rescues.

“This would include ending uncertainty over the current expenses in administration regime and implementing R3’s ‘rescue to ransom’ campaign, targeting suppliers who demand ransom payments from companies facing insolvency.

“Combined, these two measures could save nearly 5,000 more businesses a year.

“I will also be looking at ways to establish greater ‘clarity for creditors’ in the way they engage in the insolvency process – as well as considering whether we should call for changes to the football creditors’ rule.”

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