Company insolvencies at highest annual level since 2013, figures released by The Insolvency Service

The Insolvency Service has released company insolvency statistics for Q4 September to December 2019 for England and Wales, showing an increase in underlying company insolvencies for the year to their highest levels since 2013.

Main messages from the report:

  • In 2019, underlying company insolvencies increased to their highest annual level since 2013.
  • This was largely driven by an increase in underlying creditors’ voluntary liquidations which reached their highest annual level since 2009
  • Administrations increased in 2019 compared to 2018 while compulsory liquidations decreased, and company voluntary arrangements were flat.
  • Underlying company insolvencies decreased in Q4 2019 compared with Q3 2019.

* Data relates to England and Wales for 2019 – additional reports for Scotland and NI are available – see the full report at The Insolvency Service Releases

How this compares to 2018

There were 17,196 underlying company insolvencies in 2019, a 6.8% increase on 2018 and the highest level of underlying insolvencies since 2013.

Both underlying CVLs and administrations increased from 2018: underlying CVLs increased by 8.2% to 12,060 (the highest level since 2009) and administrations by 24.0% to 1,814 (the highest level since 2013).

Compulsory liquidations fell by 5.4% in 2019 to 2,970, while CVAs fell by 1.1% to 351.

The underlying liquidation rate increased slightly in the 12 months ending Q4 2019

The underlying liquidation rate increased slightly in the 12 months ending Q4 2019, to 1 in 238 companies liquidated in England and Wales, 4-quarter rolling rate.

Difficult times for construction and retail

The Insolvency Service also publishes data by industry.

Of the larger industry groupings, in the 12 months ending Q4 2019, the construction industry group saw the largest increase in underlying insolvency volumes (69 more, a 2.2% increase) compared with the 12 months ending Q3, 2019.

The highest number of new underlying company insolvencies was in the construction industry with 3,198 insolvencies; followed by the wholesale and retail trade, repair of vehicles industrial grouping with 2,442; and the accommodation and food services grouping with 2,307 insolvencies.

The information and communication services group saw the largest decrease in volumes (73 fewer, a 7.5% decrease) compared with the same period last year.

Statistics are also available relating to Scotland and Northern Ireland, industry groupings and long-term trends – visit The Insolvency Service Releases


The slight reduction in company insolvencies witnessed in Q4 may indicate the start of an upturn for business prospects during 2020 following recent political and economic disruption. Only time will tell as to whether we’re finally returning to confidence.

For advice, contact us.