JEFF PRESTRIDGE: Fewer ghost towns, more buzzing communities, are the order of the day
Cash is no longer king, but as we report today it remains a vital cog in sustaining communities and high streets up and down the country.
Strip a community of its banks and access to ready cash – as has happened in Wath upon Dearne in South Yorkshire – and there is no coming back. But keep banks open, as is the case in Rotherham, and towns and local businesses can thrive.
A few days ago, the new boss of the Payment Systems Regulator, Chris Hemsley, stressed the need for all communities to continue to have ready access to cash. Refreshing words. He would be wise to adopt our manifesto that calls for every town to have a bank (stand alone or shared), post office and free to use cash machine.
Fewer ghost towns, more buzzing communities, are the order of the day.
Fewer ghost towns, more buzzing communities, are the order of the day, says Jeff Prestridge
Tomorrow, investment trust Woodford Patient Capital will announce its results for the first half of the year. For investors in this beleaguered fund that invests in embryonic companies, there will not be a scintilla of good news to give them cause for optimism. Sorry.
As we have consistently reported in recent months, the stock market listed trust – a shadow of its former self – is currently going nowhere under the management of Neil Woodford, a busted star.
Its shares closed on Friday at a tad over 43p – compared to 100p at the trust’s launch in April 2015 – valuing it at a shade over £400million, and bad news remains in the ascendency.
Three days ago, the trust confirmed that the value of yet more holdings – three unnamed businesses – had been written down by the fund’s administrators. More write-downs are likely in the weeks ahead.
With the trust recently demoted from the FTSE 250 Index – and the whiff of controversy still hanging in the air from Neil Woodford’s controversial decision to sell 1.75 million personal shares in Patient Capital without first informing members of the board – it is surely time for decisive action.
On Monday, investment trust Woodford Patient Capital will announce its results
That can only come from the boardroom whose members are paid to protect the interests of shareholders (little sign of ‘protection’ so far).
In late July, the board confirmed that it was looking to replace Woodford, but there has been not a trace of white smoke confirming the appointment of new managers.
Maybe tomorrow’s results will shine a little light on how the board is progressing with this key work – they remained stum on Friday when pressed by The Mail on Sunday. I do hope so because the current situation at Patient Capital is untenable.
Any more dragging of feet by the trust’s board and they will quite rightly be in the dock for failing in their duties to investors. Time, not patience, is of the essence.
Just to complete the sorrowful Woodford jigsaw, dealings in fund Equity Income remain suspended while sister vehicle Income Focus continues to shrink in size as investors sell up. Over the last year, Woodford investors have suffered paper losses of 24 per cent (Income Focus), 31 per cent (Equity Income) and 48 per cent (Patient Capital).
Enough to make you weep into your Sunday bowl of shredded wheat, but strangely not sufficiently cataclysmic to arouse the interest of the Financial Conduct Authority. It doth enjoy its sleep too much.