43% year-on-year increase in company insolvencies
This was 43% higher than the same month the previous year, and is also 42% higher than the number registered in the same month prior to the pandemic – in August 2019. Of the 1,933, 1,662 were creditors’ voluntary liquidations (CVLs) – 33% higher than in August 2021 and 73% higher than in August 2019.
As for the other types of company insolvencies, compulsory liquidations remained lower than before the pandemic, although there were almost four times as many compulsory liquidations in August 2022 as in August 2021.
This was also the case for company voluntary arrangements (CVAs) – with the 13 being 550% higher than in August 2021 but 57% lower than in August 2019 – and administrations, with 116 being 111% higher than in August 2021 but 34% lower than in August 2019.
Additionally, between 26 June 2020 and 31 August 2022, 40 moratoriums were obtained and 11 companies had a restructuring plan registered at Companies House.
These figures, according to R3 president Christina Fitzgerald, will be a “sobering reminder to the government to scale of the challenge facing the UK economy”, and “reflect the continued toll the sustained economic turbulence is taking on businesses in England and Wales”.
She added: “Companies are facing enormous running cost hikes just as household spending is facing its biggest squeeze in several decades which delivers yet another blow to business owners who were hoping to bounce back to normal trading levels post-pandemic.
“Many directors and managers are worried about the rise in prices and energy costs and the effect these will have on their margins and profits, and this is set to continue to be a concern.”
Looking at individual insolvencies in August 2022, there were 1,932 debt relief orders (DROs) and 565 bankruptcies in England and Wales.
The bankruptcies were made up of 491 debtor applications and 74 creditor petitions. Overall monthly bankruptcy numbers over the past year were lower than the numbers in 2020, which were already lower than pre-pandemic levels.
Compared to August 2019, total bankruptcies were 58% lower, debtor applications 56% lower and creditor petitions 69% lower.
The number of DROs in August was similar to August 2019 but 12% higher than in August 2021.
Looking at individual voluntary arrangements (IVAs), there were – on average – 7,340 registered per month in the three-month period ending August 2022. This was five percent higher than the three-month period ending August 2021 and eight percent higher than the three months ending August 2019.
Reflecting on this, Fitzgerald said: “Right now, many people are worried about money, with the increasing costs of fuel, food and energy key concerns as wages lag behind inflation.
“This concern about the cost of living is making many people reluctant to make major purchases and spend on anything other than the basics. Borrowing and credit card spending have also increased as people are, worryingly, turning to these to cover their costs.”
Turning to the figures in Scotland, there were 105 company insolvencies registered in Scotland – which was 18% higher than the number in August 2021 and 33% higher than in August 2019.
This consisted of 37 compulsory liquidations, 65 CVLs and three administrations.
Additionally, between 26 June 2020 and 31 August 2022, no moratoriums were obtained and two companies had a restructuring plan registered at Companies House in Scotland.
Looking at the figures in Northern Ireland, 14 company insolvencies were registered – which was 56% higher than in August 2021 but 36% lower than in August 2019. This consisted of 10 CVLs, compulsory liquidations, one administration and one CVA.