Eleanor Temple, chair of R3 in Yorkshire

Yorkshire and the Humber put in a stalwart performance in February recording the lowest level of insolvency-related activity of all the English regions since the previous month according to the latest research from the UK’s insolvency and restructuring trade body, R3.

Last month, insolvency-related activity affected 263 businesses in Yorkshire and the Humber, up from 236 in January. This 11.4% rise was the second lowest seen across all 12 nations and regions, with only Scotland outperforming the region with a 7.5% month-on-month rise.

The research from R3, which is based on an analysis of data provided by CreditSafe, also showed that the South West with a 15.7% increase in this type of activity (which includes liquidator and administrator appointments and creditors’ meetings) and the North East (up by 19.4%) performed relatively strongly in February compared with the previous month.

In contrast, the most significant decreases were in the South East (with a rise of 67.3%); followed by Greater London (up by 51.9%); and Northern Ireland (up by 50%).


Looking at month-on-month changes to the number of start-ups, another indicator of economic health, the picture in Yorkshire and the Humber was less encouraging with the region seeing no increase in the level of new businesses since January. In February, there were 5,386 new businesses in the region compared with 5,405 the previous month. However, only Scotland put in a stronger performance (up by 5.6%) while the majority of the other regions and nations saw single digit falls in levels of start-ups, with Northern Ireland down by 30%.

“With the news last month that the UK economy had technically slipped into recession in the last quarter of 2023, potentially just months ahead of a general election, there are very real worries that we will only see sluggish growth at best this year,” explains Eleanor Temple, chair of R3 in Yorkshire and a barrister at Kings Chambers in Leeds. “A number of factors, such as the curb in consumer spending and the doctors’ strikes, are continuing to act as a drug on growth, and so prospects are far from rosy.

“In this difficult climate it is positive to see our region performing relatively well last month with levels of insolvency-related activity here among the lowest across the UK compared with January. However, the low levels of start-ups in February across the majority of regions and nations is a cause for concern, again revealing poor business confidence.

“While some commentators are claiming that the economy has now ‘turned the corner’, with an imminent interest rate cut unlikely, there may well still be tough times ahead for many businesses. As ever, it’s vital that directors keep a sharp eye on their finances and seek professional advice as early as possible to avoid problems from spiralling out of control.”