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Failure to declare liquidation scuppers O-licence bid

  • 29 July 2014
  • By Roger Brown

Traffic Commissioner (TC) for Scotland Joan Aitken (pictured) has refused a new application from Plean-based scaffolding firm AR Services Scotland after it failed to declare the liquidation of a related business that had previously held an O-licence.

At a public inquiry in Edinburgh in July, the TC also heard the applicant:

- had continued to operate vehicles after the liquidation of that firm – AR Services Scot;
- operated vehicles while the application was under consideration and after the Central Licensing Office had advised the applicant no authority was in place. Aitken also concluded that the director, Alexander Robertson, had changed his evidence during the hearing to make out that a letter from the Central Licensing Office was acted on immediately.

Robertson told the TC that:

- his firm AR Scaffolding (Scotland) had gone into liquidation in 2004. He attributed that to two companies folding, owing his company money;
- he had bought out a partner and that had required a six-figure sum;
- he traded with a sole trader licence until he got the AR Services Scot licence then he let the sole trader licence lapse.

AR Services Scot went into liquidation in 2011 when the recession kicked in. An interim liquidator’s report to the first meeting of creditors in March 2011 recorded that turnover had declined in the year to March 2010 due to the economic recession.

The directors took advice when it was apparent that the company was insolvent. It was decided to cease trading and there was a petition for liquidation. Robertson had not told the Office of the TC of this and did not think he had to.

Robertson also claimed that he had not been able to hear the TC properly during questioning about when the company stopped using the vehicle. Earlier in the inquiry, he had told Aitken the vehicle was taken off the road because of the finance company. It took the vehicle back to make sure it was not impounded for running without a valid O-licence.

The letter from the licensing office predated the finance company’s intervention.

In her written decision, the TC said: “The continued operation of that vehicle was to suit the needs of the applicant company for a vehicle to move scaffolding and other equipment.

“I find that the failure to make proper inquiry regarding the operator licence requirements and to answer questions accurately was self-serving and allowed the applicant company to have continuous operation of vehicles, notwithstanding the liquidation of the company which held the licence,” the TC added.


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