In the final statistics release of this year, the Insolvency Service confirmed that there were 2,466 registered company insolvencies in November 2023 (the December figures will be released early in 2024). Not only was this 21% higher than in the previous November, but 7% higher than the figures in October 2023.

The company insolvencies in November 2023 included:

  • 1,962 creditors’ voluntary liquidations (CVLs)
  • 12 company voluntary arrangements (CVAs)
  • 359 compulsory liquidations
  • 133 administrations

Though the number of CVLs was significantly higher than in 2022, administration figures remained similar to those of the previous year and at slightly less than 2019 levels.

Insolvency and Asset Recovery partner Tim Symes was quoted in The Telegraph and Yahoo! Finance business blogs following the latest statistics.

Tim says: “These latest figures tell a bleak story. There is a 40% increase on last month in companies forced into liquidation by their creditors, and shockingly November also now holds the record for the most winding up orders of any month in the last three years.

This record spike in compulsory liquidations combined with the lower numbers for administrations and voluntary arrangements presents an overall picture of not only increasing distress and failure in business generally, but lower tolerance by creditors prepared to be passive parties to company failures. Any suggestion there is light at the end of the UK’s economic tunnel is not supported by these statistics.”


A challenging year for UK businesses

The end of 2022 pointed to a challenging year ahead for the economy, with the government’s reports revealing that 1,964 corporate insolvencies took place in December 2022, 32% higher than in the same month in 2021 and 76% higher than the number registered in 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic.

High-profile company crises and administrations have led the news agenda on several occasions this year. In June, Head of Insolvency and Asset Recovery Alex Jay spoke on BBC Radio 5 Live about the issues affecting Thames Water, which at that time was on the verge of going bust having accumulated £14 billion worth of debt. The following month, Tim Symes appeared on Sky News’ Business Live with Ian King as the latest figures revealed company and individual insolvencies in England and Wales remained close to an all-time high.

Meanwhile, the economy-wide picture was unpredictable as spring gave way to summer. Despite an unexpected drop in the number of businesses going bust in April, 2,552 corporate insolvencies were registered the following month, 40% higher than in May 2022. Tim said in The Guardian’s business blog: “If the company insolvency figures were a heartbeat, then it would be erratic… these figures tell us the economy is very much still in the woods.”

The gloomy outlook continued as quarterly figures showed 10% more insolvencies in July-September compared to the same time period a year prior. The trends suggest that by the end of 2023, more companies will have gone bust than any year since the Great Recession.



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