The voice of city business – the Chamber of Commerce – has stopped trading because it owes money to an assortment of creditors.
The once prestigious organisation closed on Tuesday without even the cash to fund its own liquidation.
Chief executive Colin Fox said the problem was due to “an historic legacy of debts” that has “burdened” the company and rendered it unable to continue,
“The company has insufficient assets to meet its liabilities and is insolvent within the meaning of the Insolvency Act 1986,” he said.
Mr Fox released a statement on Wednesday, after the Chamber’s Silbury Court offices had been cleared and the phone lines disconnected.
The groups Facebook and Twitter sites have also been disabled.
Now the board members must sit and wait to see if one or more of the creditors will start official wind-up proceedings in a bid to recover their debts.
Already Mr Fox has promised that no petition for a compulsory wind-up order would be opposed.
He revealed directors had sought advice from an insolvency practitioner and were preparing to propose a voluntary arrangement for liquidation to enable the company to repay some of its debt.
But while the proposal was being drawn up the British Chamber of Commerce stepped in to terminate all accreditation.
“This left the directors with no alternative but to cease trading the company,” he said.
The sudden closure may have left many members in the lurch. Up until the last minute the chamber website continued to advertise services and activities – including, ironically, a ‘Legal and Finance Networking Evening’ at All Bar One next week.
Mr Fox said surrounding chambers of commerce will join forces to offer as much ongoing business support as they can
“There will inevitably be some disruption to services but neighbouring chambers will do their very best to minimise this disruption. Immediate support will be provided regarding international trade documentation to avoid any impact on members’ business continuity,” he said.
Milton Keynes Council tweeted on Wednesday: ‘Sad news about MK Chamber of Commerce. The council will be working in partnership with the local business community to do all we can to help.”