Eleanor Temple, Chair of insolvency and restructuring trade body R3

Corporate insolvencies increased by 7.2% in September 2021 to a total of 1,446 compared to August’s figure of 1,349, and increased by 55.8% compared to September 2020’s figure of 928.

Personal insolvencies rose by 9.2% to 9,954 in September 2021 compared to August’s figure of 9,118, and were 33.2% higher than September 2020’s figure of 7,471.
Eleanor Temple, chair of insolvency and restructuring trade body R3 in Yorkshire and a barrister at Kings Chambers in Leeds, responds to today’s publication of the September 2021 corporate and individual insolvency statistics for England and Wales:

“The insolvency statistics published today show the economic effects of the pandemic are continuing to take a toll on businesses and consumers.

“The dramatic increase in corporate insolvencies compared to this time last year – to the highest level since January 2020 – illustrates just how crucial the Government’s support has been in keeping businesses afloat and suggests that there may be a rocky road ahead for the business community now it has ended.

“The monthly increase in corporate insolvencies was driven by a rise in Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidations, which increased for the third consecutive month. This suggests that directors are choosing to close their businesses after deeming their financial survival unlikely after 18 months of trading through a pandemic.

“Despite the fact that businesses have benefitted from two months of restriction-free trading and the economic boost over the summer, conditions are still not back to where they were before the pandemic.

“Consumers are now increasingly cautious about the state of the economy, their personal finances and the increased cost of living and are more wary about spending their money.

“And with widespread supply chain disruption and significant wholesale energy price increases building up between September and October, there is likely to be little slack in the system for businesses and individuals who have yet to get back on their feet following the impact of COVID.

“When it comes to personal insolvencies, the increase between August and September was driven by a rise in Individual Voluntary Arrangements and DROs. This suggests that more people are in debt and taking steps to resolve the issues they face with their finances, but also that the situation is still tough out there for people in England and Wales.

“Although September saw increases in job vacancies and the number of people in work returned to pre-pandemic levels, a high percentage of those employed are in temporary roles, and more than a million people were still on furlough when the programme closed at the end of the month.

“Government support has been a lifeline for many, and initiatives like the Breathing Space scheme have proved welcome support for people in financial distress. However, this support has not been able to help everyone, and many people have had to use savings to cover expenditure during the pandemic.

“Anyone worried about their finances – business or personal – should seek advice at the earliest possible opportunity. When you’re worried about money, having that initial conversation about your concerns is hard, but doing so as early as possible will mean you have more potential solutions available and more time to take a qualified decision about which of them is right for you.”