A car parts firm director has been banned from running companies after he was found to have misused a government bounce back loan worth £10,000s.

Ben Hughes, believed to be from Kearsley, applied for a bounce back loan of £30,000 for his company Jagbreakers on July 3, 2020, despite the fact he was not entitled to any such loan having already received £20,000 from the same scheme on May 5 that same year.

The Insolvency Service then found that having received the £30,000 loan, the company then paid £25,000 “for the benefit of Mr Hughes".

Cllr Paul Heslop, who represents Kearsley on the council, said: “Any system like this needs to be fair and to have adequate verification in place for the applicants without being too cumbersome.

“Lots off businesses needed support, at the time a lot of businesses had ground to a halt in fact, but it really is important that people don’t take advantage of this.”

The Bolton News: Bounce Back Loans had been intended to support businesses during the pandemicBounce Back Loans had been intended to support businesses during the pandemic (Image: Newsquest)

He added: “The schemes that the government brought in at that time have all been questionable in various ways about whether the money was spent wisely or if it was wasted.”

The bounce back loan scheme was originally aimed at helping smaller business borrow £2,000 and £50,000 at a low interest rate, guaranteed by the government, to support them during the pandemic.

But The Insolvency Service ruled that Hughes, 54, of Lord Street, Kearsley, knew or should have known that he was not entitled to the second bounce back loan, having already received such a loan before.

Under the terms of the scheme a company can only receive one bounce back loan.

Despite this, Hughes made a declaration that Jagbreakers, a car parts company then based on Radcliffe Road, Darcy Lever, did in fact meet the eligibility criteria.

After receiving the second bounce back loan worth £30,000, Jagbreakers then paid a total of £25,000 to Hughes himself between July 10 and July 14 2020.

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The Insolvency Service ruled that these payments were made “for the benefit of Mr Hughes".

Jagbreakers then made payments worth a total of £12,308 in repayments for the second loan but when it went into liquidation it was found to have liabilities of £156,898.

Of this, £18,400 was owed in respect of the second bounce back loan.

The Insolvency Service has now banned Hughes from running any company for nine years, starting from August 24 this year.

Jagbreakers’ last known place of business did not respond to attempts to contact them.