Heart of England Fine Foods takes voluntary liquidation step

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A company that promotes food and drink in the West Midlands region has taken steps to go into voluntary liquidation.

Heart of England Fine Foods (HEFF) said it has created and safeguarded more than 2,000 jobs since it was set up with government money to support small firms and other enterprises in 1998.

HEFF said the news followed the loss of a contract with Shropshire Council three years early and slow trading.

The council said a review found it was "paying an excessive amount of money".

'Room for improvement'

HEFF said the contract was for managing the Shropshire Food Enterprise Centre, which promotes local food.

The council added a scheduled management review by an independent consultant had found "room for improvement".

The company said its current situation was also due to funding, initially allocated in January, "not materialising" from government department UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) to support HEFF's international work.

In a statement, the firm said: "Despite valiant efforts we have been unable to secure any additional sources of income from either the public or private sector.

"We believe the government is short-sighted in not recognising the added value HEFF brings to the food and drink industry and the contribution made to the economy through its activities.

"Whilst the immediate job losses at HEFF will be 15, the knock-on effect is likely to see hundreds of jobs within small businesses put at risk."

The company said "even at this late stage" it was hopeful a solution may be found before a meeting for shareholders on 9 July.

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