What other key facts emerged last month?

Winter feels like it has arrived in all aspects this week with the first really bad weather of the season combined with chilly economic news to match. 

Inflation has dipped slightly to 10.7% but still remains at historically high levels and the Bank of England as widely anticipated, raised interest rates still further by half a percentage point to 3.5% with further rises probably set to come in the new year.

Many businesses don’t have the option of deciding whether or not to heat or light their premises so they will have to take the higher energy prices on the chin even with some support that is only guaranteed until the end of March. 

The Insolvency Service have released their latest official corporate insolvency figures for November and it will send a chill through anybody expecting better news for businesses. 

The total number of business insolvencies recorded last month for England and Wales was 2,029 – a 4% increase on the previous month’s total of 1,948 and the second highest monthly total of 2022.  

It is also the second highest monthly insolvency total recorded since January 2020.

The figure is 21% higher than the same month a year ago and is 35% higher than the pre-pandemic period of November 2019.

This is also the 19th consecutive month when the number of recorded corporate insolvencies was both over 1,000 and was higher than the corresponding monthly figure from a year previously. 


If we look closer at the 2,029 cases in more detail we can see some themes continuing to solidify. 

As remains the case, the majority of cases were made up of 1,595 Creditor Voluntary Liquidations (CVLs) which formed 78.6% of the total number of cases.  This was a slightly smaller ratio than last month’s 82% of the total but was only three cases less.

The total of 1,595 is 5% higher than the total from November 2021 and 50% higher than in November 2019. 

Last month there were a total of 290 compulsory liquidations (including winding up petitions) which was nearly five times as many as in November 2021 and 7% higher than the same period in 2019. 

This is the fifth consecutive month that compulsory liquidations have grown from the historical lows seen during the pandemic period.  This is due to an increase in the number of winding up petitions presented by HMRC and other creditors with 95 alone coming from one individual bank. Compulsory liquidations in October and November are now higher than in their pre-pandemic monthly equivalents.

Additionally there were 134 administrations, which have risen for the third consecutive month. These have risen 44% from November 2021 and are up by 27 from a month ago. 

There were 10 Company Voluntary Arrangements (CVAs) which doubled from five a month ago but are at the same level as they were a year ago. There were no receivership appointments made in November and no additions to the 40 insolvency moratoriums obtained in England and Wales or to the 12 companies that have had their restructuring plans registered at Companies House. 

The rise in liquidations, administrations and CVAs all indicate that more businesses are running into financial difficulties at a time of year which should be booming for some sectors but could see others seeing a reduction in their activities.


There were 118 company insolvencies recorded in November in Scotland last month which is the highest monthly total recorded in Scotland since January 2019. 

This was up 36 from the 82 recorded in November and is up 13% from the same month a year ago and up 36% from pre-pandemic November 2019. 

The total was made up of 72 CVLs (up from 55 in October); 42 compulsory liquidations (up from 19); 3 administrations (down from 8); one CVA and zero receivership appointments. 

Scotland always tended to have higher compulsory liquidation rates than other kinds of insolvency but since April 2020, CVLs became the most common type recorded with more directors of Scottish businesses choosing to take the initiative and assert an element of control in closing their business rather than leaving it to creditors and the courts to decide their fates. 

Northern Ireland

There were a total of 20 company insolvencies in Northern Ireland in November. This is up from the 15 recorded in October. 

This is up 122% from the same month a year ago but down on the pre-pandemic period of November 2019 by 35%. 

The total was made up of 16 CVLs (up from 12 last month) with 2 compulsory liquidations and 2 CVAs. There were no receivership appointments recorded. 

The total number of UK-wide company insolvencies for October 2023 then is 2,167, which is an increase of 122.

“What we’re seeing here is a perfect storm”

Commenting on the figures, Nicky Fisher, Vice President of R3, the insolvency and restructuring trade body, said: “The rise in corporate insolvency numbers has been mainly driven by an increase in compulsory liquidations, while creditor voluntary liquidations (CVLs) and administration numbers have also increased.

“Increases in CVLs and compulsory liquidations are the key drivers of the increase from this time last year and from three years ago. 

“What we’re seeing here is a perfect storm of creditors pursuing unpaid debts and directors choosing to close down their businesses – either before this choice is taken away from them or because they have simply run out of road.

“An increasing number of businesses are buckling under the strain of more than two and a half years of economic turmoil. Companies have been battered by the pandemic, rising costs, reduced spending and increasing inflation, and a growing number are now turning to an insolvency process to resolve their financial distress.

“For many businesses, the Christmas and post-Christmas period is a critical part of their year and the time when a large percentage of their revenue is generated. However, given how stretched people’s finances are this year, it remains to be seen whether this will be a happy Christmas or a final one for these firms.”

Some businesses are still crossing their fingers and hoping that the Christmas period brings them a change in fortune or a big boost before the new year arrives. 

While we hope their wishes are granted, we’ve always maintained that hope isn’t a strategy and that while it’s good to have, it’s not a patch on a bespoke, personalised survival strategy you can have if you get in touch with us. 

We offer a free initial consultation to any business owner or director that wants to know what options they could have to help their business in the weeks and months ahead. 

They will then have genuine choices rather than waiting too long and being forced to make decisions they could have avoided if they’d taken action earlier.