Less than 1pc of firms go bust during October

Ben Southwood
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FEWER and fewer firms are being forced into insolvency, data out this morning suggested, despite continued economic pressure on business.

Just 1,685 firms went insolvent during October, according to data from Experian, down 8.7 per cent on October 2011, to make up just 0.08 per cent of the total business population.

Nearly all firm sizes and most regions saw fewer firms go under, Experian said, with some 31.6 per cent fewer firms that employ between 101 and 500 staff going bust, as well as 23.1 per cent fewer firms with 26 to 50 employees.

Considered together, firms with 25 employees or fewer also suffered much fewer insolvencies. Only the biggest firms – with 501 employees or more – saw a jump.

All regions of the UK barring the North East, Yorkshire, Wales and the South West saw the proportion of the business population failing during the month decline – in line with the UK-wide slide from 0.1 per cent to 0.08 per cent.

In most sectors there were too few firms listed to draw any strong conclusions from the data.

Insolvencies among leisure and hotel firms dived 22 per cent, while 18.9 per cent fewer business services firms failed. However building and construction firms were in trouble, with 5.4 per cent more of them becoming insolvent – and engineering firms saw a yet bigger insolvency hike of 8.4 per cent.

Max Firth at Experian hailed the figures as showing a let-up in the middle market – where firms often find themselves hamstrung by their size.