R3 Southern & Thames Valley- Insolvency-related activity down slightly

CAUTIOUS WELCOME: Neil Stewart, chair of R3’s Southern and Thames Valley region, responds to latest Creditsafe figures

CAUTIOUS WELCOME: Neil Stewart, chair of R3’s Southern and Thames Valley region, responds to latest Creditsafe figures

Insolvency-related activity has again reduced marginally in the South East and is lower than the same period last year, says R3, the UK’s insolvency and restructuring trade body.

Latest figures showed a slight decrease in insolvency-related activities from 211 in October to 202 in November – these include administrator and liquidator appointments together with creditors’ meetings. This is also down on the figure of 261 in November 2022.

However, R3 has warned that continuing economic turbulence remains a big threat to businesses, following its analysis of data about insolvencies and start-ups supplied by business intelligence provider Creditsafe.

Its findings also revealed the number of firms in liquidation who owed money to their creditors in the South East has fallen dramatically from 418 in October to 284 in November.

The South East figure has dropped to be the sixth highest for any part of the UK, behind Greater London, which has 588, the North West, 429, East Anglia, 385, Yorkshire & Humberside, 281 and the West Midlands, 267.

Neil Stewart, chair of R3’s Southern and Thames Valley region, said: “Although we have experienced a slight improvement in regional figures, insolvency trends continue to be fairly uneven and it is difficult to see any promising movement emerging.

“Businesses continue to be hit hard by multiple economic challenges out of their control – rising costs, higher energy bills, wage demands, cautious customer spending, creditor pressure and general director fatigue.

“The recent fall in inflation is to be welcomed, but it is still at 4.6%, the highest rate outside the current financial crisis since September 2011, and many companies remain at risk of being pushed into insolvency.”

Neil, a regional associate director at insolvency litigation financing company Manolete Partners, added that the Creditsafe figures for October demonstrated ongoing uncertain times and that more companies would need to seek professional help.

He said: “Businesses that seek advice when their problems are at an early stage have the best chance of turning their situation around.

“Directors and decision-makers should therefore take action when the first warning signs appear, be they cash flow problems, over-borrowing, wages not paid on time, delays in paying suppliers or HMRC pursuing tax payments.

“Experience has shown that those who are decisive, remain vigilant and don’t just hope or assume they can ride things out stand the best chance of finding a solution that works for everyone. The sooner matters are addressed the greater the range of options that will be available for your business.”

The latest Creditsafe data shows the ongoing, if slight, reduction in the number of companies with invoices that had gone past their payment deadline is continuing with a drop from 57,482 in October to 57,174 in November. The year-high remains 60,831 in February.

Meanwhile, the number of late payments made by companies owing money was slightly up at 481,272 in November compared with 481,052 in October.

The number of start-ups in the South East was almost static in November at 6,270, up just eight from 6,262 in October. The 12-month high remains 6,948 in March.

Creditsafe is a multinational business intelligence provider with services including company credit scores and credit report information.

R3’s Southern & Thames Valley region includes Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Dorset, Wiltshire and Berkshire.