U.K. Company Insolvencies Rise to Highest Level Since 2014 on Brexit Crisis

By Andrew Atkinson | October 31, 2019

The number of companies in England and Wales unable to pay their debts rose to an almost six-year high in the third quarter as the Brexit crisis intensified.

There were 4,355 company insolvencies, 0.4% more than in the second quarter, the Insolvency Service said. The number of companies entering administration, where an accountancy firm is appointed to help recover money for creditors, jumped by 20%.

The U.K. economy has lost momentum since the 2016 vote to leave the European Union, with business investment hit particularly hard. Growth in the first quarter was boosted by stockpiling ahead of the original March 29 Brexit deadline but separate figures Wednesday showed wide disparities between regions.

London expanded by 1.2%, double the U.K. average, and solid performances were also seen in northwest and southwest England, the Office for National Statistics said. But output contracted in Wales, the East Midlands and Yorkshire and The Humber.

In the latest 12 months, the construction industry saw the highest number of insolvencies, followed by administrative and support services, wholesale and retail, and vehicle repair firms.

The number of individuals going bust rose marginally over the quarter, the Insolvency Service said.

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