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Thu 23 Jul 2009 04:59 PM

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UK government 'monitoring' contractor debt

UK Trade and Investment reiterates concern over unpaid firms in the UAE.

The UK government on Thursday reiterated its call for contractors to be paid by Dubai developers – and said it was ‘continuing to monitor the situation’.

Almost £400m ($660m) is owed to UK consultants and engineers in unpaid fees from work undertaken in the UAE, UK trade body the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) said in May.

But the government has now re-emphasised its concern over the situation, stressing that British companies need to have a ‘high level of assurance’ when their debts will be settled.

A spokesman for the UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), a government organisation that promotes UK business overseas, said: “Companies should be paid in full for work undertaken, and need to have high level of assurance on when this will happen so that they can negotiate in good faith on sequencing those payments.

 “Staff at the consulate-general in Dubai are continuing to monitor the situation and are liaising with British companies,” the spokesman added.

On a visit to Abu Dhabi earlier in the month Lord Davies, the UK trade minister, stressed contractors and suppliers in Dubai ‘need to be paid’.

UK Business Secretary Lord Mandelson raised the issue with the Dubai government on a visit to the emirate in April.

Tight liquidity and a property downturn triggered by the global crisis has left many contractors and consultants in mainly the construction and real estate sectors owed millions of dirhams.

This week Dubai said it had started raising the second $10bn tranche of a $20bn bond issuance to raise capital for state-backed companies reeling from the downturn.    

Property consultant Collliers International said house prices in emirate dived 41 percent in the first quarter of the year.  

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

bailiff 11 years ago

If any of these debts are owed by "Dubai Government" then the assets of "Dubai Government" in London should be froze, 28 days later they should be liquidated and the contractors paid with the proceeds. The UK has for too long been far to soft. Time for the Lion to roar.

Joe Bazooka 11 years ago

Should't the UK Government also "monitor & assure" that the money people had in UK and IOM Banks which collapsed be paid to the people? This money belonged to ordinary people. The UK Govt was quick to cease assets of the IOM failed Bank to recover its own deposits at the expense of the ordinary people. Double Stands????