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Lotus wins breathing space in HMRC insolvency proceedings

Lotus has won a seven-day breathing space in insolvency proceedings brought against it by the taxman.

Mr Justice Birss at London's High Court said that it would be the last time he would grant an adjournment of a bid by HM Revenue & Customs to have the Formula One team put into administration.

HMRC issued its application in August over £900,000 outstanding in respect of PAYE (income tax and national insurance) for June 2015.

Since then, while negotiations have been continuing to save the team, which is based in Enstone, Oxfordshire, a similar debt had accrued for July with another due shortly for August.

Lawyers for HMRC told the judge today that a further adjournment was not appropriate as, while Lotus's drivers, employees and mechanics were being paid, HMRC had not received payment.

Lotus, which is reported to be in talks with Renault, had argued that, if the administration order was made today, the company would cease to trade, which would not be in the interest of creditors and would cost 400 jobs.

Granting the adjournment, the judge said that: "The parties have satisfied me that that there is genuinely a real prospect that the first stage of the deal that is being described will be signed in the next seven days which will allow significant funding to go into the company."

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