Journalists who worked for failed weekly newspaper the Birmingham Press will receive payments of just 2p for every pound they are owed, it has been revealed.
The short-lived paper which was set up by newspaper entrepreneur Chris Bullivant collapsed in October 2010, leaving debts of nearly £350,000.
This included more than £37,000 to individual freelance journalists, who were owed up to £9,000 after not being paid.
Now the liquidators have confirmed just £5,125.76 has been raised against agreed creditor claims of £245,955.28 – which equates to around 2p for each pound owed by CJB Media Ltd.
Mr Bullivant withdrew from the Birmingham newspaper war after estate agents in the city decided to return to rival Trinity Mirror-owned publications.
Chris Morley, Northern and Midlands organiser for the National Union of Journalists, was a member of the liquidation committee set up after the collapse of the company and said it was initially feared there would be no payment whatsoever to the journalists.
He said: “At least there’s something that came back. I think there’s 70 creditors and a lot of them were freelance journalists.
“Many of them were people who had been made redundant and were really working hard to make it as freelances and give Chris Bullivant the benefit of the doubt. They carried on doing it even though they weren’t getting paid.
“It is still chicken feed but I think it’s the principle that something at least should come back.”
Mr Bullivant has relinquished his own claim to any dividends from the liquidation, with the company owing him more than £150,000.
Cheque are now understood to be in the post to creditors.
At a creditor’s meeting in November 2010, Mr Bullivant apologised to the freelance journalists who were left unpaid.
Mr Bullivant told HTFP he was preparing a case with his lawyers to present to the Office of Fair Trading about Trinity Mirror’s pricing structure, which he said had led to the paper’s closure.
He said: “At the time of winding up of CJB Media Ltd, I informed creditors of my belief that Trinity Mirror were responsible for the demise of the company because of predatory pricing against our newspapers towards the end of 2010.
“Creditors should be made aware that I continue to prepare our case for an investigation and that I will keep them informed of future developments.
He added: “I was the greatest inputter of cash into the company and I was the one person who took nothing out.”
Trinity Mirror has previously denied engaging in “anti-competitive practices”.
It has not responded to requests for further comment.