The Insolvency Service have released their latest set of corporate insolvency statistics and the roller coaster ride continues with more ups than downs last month than usual.

October’s official figures saw an increase in the monthly total of company insolvencies in England and Wales to 2,315 – a 15% increase on last month’s total of 1,967. 

This total is also up 18% from October 2022 and is the fourth highest monthly total recorded this year. As well as being higher than the Covid affected totals from 2020 and 2021, they are 63% higher than pre-Covid comparison month of October 2019 which saw 1,477 insolvencies in total. 


Once more the most populous category for business insolvencies in October was creditors voluntary liquidations (CVLs) with 1,889. 

This is an increase of 17% from September and a 19% rise from October 2022. CVLs then make up 82% of the overall monthly total, a monthly increase of 2%.

There were 256 compulsory liquidations in October which was two less than the previous month and but 2% higher than the same month a year ago.

This is the fifth consecutive month that has seen over 200 compulsory liquidations, which is also higher than the corresponding month a year ago.  This is because creditors including HMRC are becoming more active and aggressive in their efforts to recoup outstanding debts by the use of winding up petitions and statutory demands.

There were 146 administrations in October which was an increase of 21 from September and an annual increase of 36%. 

Administration gives directors and business owners the option for “breathing space” from legal and creditors’ actions allowing them sufficient time to restructure their finances and debts if possible. 

There were 23 company voluntary arrangements (CVAs) last month. This is the second highest monthly total of the year and almost double the total of 11 from last month. It’s also 360% higher than the five recorded in October 2022. 

A receivership appointment was also recorded last month, only the second of the year, along with one more additional insolvency moratorium recorded by Companies House bringing the total since June 2020 to 47. 

No additional business restructuring plans were approved by a court from the 22 recorded since June 2020. 


In Scotland last month there were a total of 99 company insolvencies recorded.  This was an increase of 12 from the total of 87 seen in September and a 21% increase on the total from last October. 

This was made up of 58 creditors voluntary liquidations (CVLs), up from 52 last month; 35 compulsory liquidations, up from 30 in September; four administrations, down one; and two CVAs, up from zero. No receiverships were recorded. 

Scotland has historically seen compulsory liquidations as the highest category of corporate insolvency but this was overtaken by CVLs since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. So far in 2023, CVL numbers have been approximately one and a half times higher than the corresponding number of compulsory liquidations cases.

Northern Ireland

There were 27 company insolvencies recorded in Northern Ireland in October, down from 37 the previous month but an 80% increase from October 2022. 

This was made up of 12 CVLs, up from nine in September; 14 compulsory liquidations, down from 25 last month; two CVAs, up from zero and one administration – the same as last month. There were no receivership appointments in the province in September.

The total number of company insolvencies for the whole of the UK in October 2023 is 2,441 – an increase of 350 from last month.

“Businesses are being battered from all sides”

Nicky Fisher, President of R3, the insolvency and restructuring trade body said: “Firms have been battling economic issues for three and a half years now, and corporate insolvency numbers are rising as more and more directors run out of options. 

“The figures published today show that creditors voluntary liquidation and administrations are at the highest levels we’ve seen in October in more than four years and this reflects the tough trading climate and the level of director fatigue among the business community in England and Wales.

“Businesses are being battered from all sides. Costs have increased, demands for wages are incoming and people are spending less as they look to save ahead of the winter and to make sure they have enough left to cover the basics. 

“If the Christmas trading period doesn’t bring a wave of new income, we could see insolvencies continue to rise in the new year, and at the moment it’s impossible to predict whether this will be a badly needed boost or the final blow for struggling firms.  

“In these kinds of circumstances, it’s critical that directors are alert to the signs of financial distress and act if any of them present themselves. 

“Cashflow problems, stock piling up and issues paying rent, taxes and suppliers are all signs that a business is distressed and need to be acted upon before they get any worse – and while the business has as wide a range of potential solutions open to it as possible.”

The figures are in and once again have shown a large rise in the number of directors and business owners deciding that they are going to literally cut their losses and close their company down. 

Of course there are other options available depending on the individual circumstances but for many businesses winter is coming – literally and figuratively. 

This is why there has never been a better time to book a free initial consultation with one of our expert advisors.  They will be able to spot opportunities to strengthen and refresh the business if that is the goal or suggest alternatives.

No matter what the end goal of the directors, finding out how to reach it now before the Christmas rush begins is the sensible move.