Firms left 'high and dry' by Patton

Published Wednesday, 14 November 2012
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A subcontractor owed thousands of pounds by Ballymena construction firm Patton has described the far-reaching impact the company's demise has had in the area.

Firms left 'high and dry' by Patton
Patton's administrator announced job cuts last week (© Pacemaker)

On Monday 70 affected subcontracting firms, employing 1,800 people took their plight to Stormont appealing for a financial bailout package.

It is thought £15m is owed by the firm to subcontractors across the region.

Last week half of Patton's workforce were told they were to be laid off as the company went into administration and there is speculation there may be more job cuts on the cards.

But the impact on other businesses who relied on the firm for work means the potential job losses could rise further as work dries up for subcontractors.

Niall Kerr owns an electrical firm, who with a small workforce of two employees is owed £9,000 by Patton, which was one of his biggest clients.

Mr Kerr described Patton as "the man who built Ballymena".

"Almost every house in Ballymena was built by him, hundreds of people within the area worked for him. He was the man that all the small companies looked up to," he told UTV Live Tonight.

Subcontractors are left high and dry, we’ve got no protection, anybody that was employed by Patton’s will get redundancy packages, they will go to the dole office tomorrow morning and sign on. Subcontractors can’t do that.

Niall Kerr

"What we're owed might be a quite small amount compared to other people, but for us it is substantial," Mr Kerr added.

"We are losing money obviously - we're not going to get it now - plus we've lost work that we've had coming up in the future.

"That means that we've worked possibly for the past month, which obviously we're getting no money for and we're still going to have wholesalers, to pay the bills and no funds coming in to pay them."

Niall says that subcontractors who did business with Patton may survive the loss of trade, but may have to cut back the number of people they employ.

"I do think that loads of the employees of the firms will suffer," he said.

"Because there's going to be no work for the employees of these subcontractors."

He remains hopeful that his small firm will continue trading.

"We'll just have to look further afield, see where we can get work and do our best to keep our prices in line and get the work," he added.

Anne Donaghy, from Ballymena Chamber of Commerce, says the council will be liaising with agencies to see what support can be provided.

But she insisted that business will continue for the town.

She said: "The council will be seeking an urgent meeting with the First and deputy First Ministers to explore the opportunities for further investment and further business with Ballymena."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
Gasman in Belfast wrote (799 days ago):
Pattons had always been bad news to small contractors, wanted everything priced yesterday then went auctioning your price around to see if someone would do it cheaper. I walked away as bad news, was asked to price a job in March, when I heard Patton was involved I bowed out and left. Sorry for those sub contractors who are caught up. Did Pattons trade whilst insolvent?
Meg in Carrickfergus wrote (802 days ago):
And the banks are not helping either by withdrawing overdraft facilities from firms that had business connections with Pattons! That's a second kick in the teeth.
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