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December monthly insolvencies second highest in two years

December monthly insolvencies second highest in two years

Whether it’s alcohol, meat, weight or spending - the aim is to have less for the first 31 days at least.  In that respect, the final set of monthly company insolvency statistics published this week by the Insolvency Service are definitely on trend as the headline number of corporate insolvencies recorded in England and Wales […]

december insolvency stats
Whether it’s alcohol, meat, weight or spending - the aim is to have less for the first 31 days at least. 

In that respect, the final set of monthly company insolvency statistics published this week by the Insolvency Service are definitely on trend as the headline number of corporate insolvencies recorded in England and Wales was less than the previous month. 

The total number for December inclusively was 1,486 which was 11.4% fewer or 188 less than the previous month but was still 20% higher than the same month in 2020 during the pandemic and 33% higher than in 2019 which was still pre-pandemic.

This made it the eighth consecutive month when the number of corporate insolvencies was both over 1,000 and higher than the corresponding number for the same month a year previously. 

Analysis

Of the 1,486 English and Welsh insolvencies, the overwhelming majority are Creditor Voluntary Liquidations (CVLs) with 1,365 being recorded last month which is 92% of the total number of insolvencies.  

This in itself is an increase of 37% from a year ago and 73% higher than in the same month at the end of 2019. 

In addition to this amount of CVLs there were a total of 42 compulsory liquidations (down 8 from November); 72 administrations (down 51) and 7 company voluntary arrangements (CVAs) (down 3). 

A closer break down of these figures shows:

  • The total of 1,486 CVLs was still the second highest monthly amount recorded in 2021 and the third highest monthly amount since January 2020. 
  • 42 compulsory liquidations are 2% lower than a year ago and 75% lower than they were in December 2019. One reason why these numbers are down by the amount they are is due to the temporary cessation of winding up petitions and other creditor actions that would have led to a higher total if they had been allowed to be brought. Restrictions are due to be lifted at the end of March which will likely see this number rise during the second quarter of 2022.
  • 7 CVA’s are 84% lower than in December 2020 and 67% lower than a year previously
  • 72 administrations are 52% lower than the same month a year ago and 49% lower than they were two years ago. 
  • No receivership appointments took place in December. 

Scotland

93 company insolvencies were recorded in Scotland in December which is nine fewer than the previous month. 

This total is still 63% higher than a year ago and 4% higher than in December 2019. 

This was made up of 17 compulsory liquidations (down from 21 in November); 73 CVLs (down from 76) and three administrations (down from 7). For the third month in a row there were no CVAs or receivership appointments recorded.           

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland in December there were 9 company insolvencies, the same total as the previous month. It’s also the same total as in December 2020 but is 72% lower than the December 2019 total. 

This was made up of seven compulsory liquidations, one administration and a CVA with no CVLs or receivership appointments recorded last month. 

The total number of UK company insolvencies for December 2021 is 1,588 - down by 99 from November 2020. 

 
“Directors are voluntarily closing their businesses before that decision is made for them”

Christina Fitzgerald, Deputy Vice President of R3, the insolvency and restructuring trade body, said: “The monthly fall in corporate insolvencies has been driven by a reduction in all forms of the corporate insolvency process.

“However the annual and two yearly increase in corporate insolvencies has been driven by a rise in Creditor Voluntary Liquidations (CVLs), which suggests that the economic situation is pushing many company directors to voluntarily close their businesses before that decision is made for them.

“Despite the month-on-month fall in corporate insolvencies, December marked a tough end to a torrid year for many businesses. Increasing Covid-19 cases, rising costs and falling consumer confidence hit footfall and sales, and company directors and management teams also had to work in the midst of new Covid restrictions, which will have affected day to day operations, customer behaviour and revenue levels. 
“This is especially true in sectors like retail and hospitality, who normally have their busiest periods in December, but faced an unhappy Christmas this year.

“Times are still tough for a lot of people. Many are worried about the future of the economy and their own personal finances, and are cautious about how they spend their money and what they spend it on. 

“Inflation is also becoming a problem, with rising energy bills and increasing household costs squeezing people’s finances. 

“With the latest Covid-19 restrictions set to last until the end of this month at least, business owners need to remain alert and if the measures lead to their business becoming financially distressed, they need to seek advice as soon as this happens.”

While the monthly company insolvency figures have dipped slightly, the overall trend is still rising as it has for several months. 

Indeed, given the growing debt arrears, pandemic restrictions, supply chain issues, staff hiring battles and absences to overcome it’s surprising figures did fall, even slightly. 

The next few months in particular are going to see further squeezes on businesses and customers as energy bills are set to rocket and costs such as business rates, wages and National Insurance Contributions also set to rise too. 

Add existing bounce back loan debt, VAT arrears and other debts and the start to 2022 looks as tough or tougher for business owners and directors since the beginning of the decade. 

There is help available to them though - whenever they need it. 

We offer a free consultation to anybody who needs a professional opinion and advice on what else they can do to help their business survive and eventually thrive once they overcome their most pressing financial problems. 

After virtually meeting or speaking with an experienced BusinessRescueExpert advisor, they’ll know what options and strategies they can use to improve their chances of having a better 2022 - but they have to take that first step.

Business Rescue Expert is part of Robson Scott Associates Limited, a limited company registered in England and Wales No. 05331812, a leading independent insolvency practice, specialising in business rescue advice. The company holds professional indemnity insurance and complies with the EU Services Directive. Christopher Horner (IP no 16150) is licenced by the Insolvency Practitioners Association

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