Insolvency statistics released for August 2021

The number of registered company insolvencies in August 2021 was 1,348 which is at the same level as pre-pandemic figures

The latest monthly release of insolvency statistics for England and Wales was published on the 17 September 2021. *

Overall, the numbers of registered company insolvencies is now similar to pre-pandemic levels, driven by a high number of CVLs.

In August 2021 the number of registered company insolvencies were at their highest level since the start of the first UK lockdown in March 2020 and were similar to pre-pandemic levels, with a total of 1,348. This was 71% higher than in the same month in the previous year, but 1% lower than in August 2019 (pre-pandemic).

Of the 1,348 registered company insolvencies in August 2021:

  • There were 1,256 CVLs, which is more than double the number in August 2020 and 30% higher than in August 2019;
  • 35 were compulsory liquidations, which is 55% lower than August 2020 and 82% lower than August 2019;
  • two were CVAs, which is 87% lower than August 2020 and 93% lower than August 2019;
  • There were 55 Administrations, which is 50% lower than August 2020 and 69% lower than August 2019; and
  • There were no receivership appointments.

Between 26 June 2020 and 31 August 2021, 13 companies obtained a moratorium and nine companies had a restructuring plan registered at Companies House. These two new procedures were created by the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020.

Impact of COVID-19 business support measures

Lower numbers of compulsory liquidations is likely to be partly driven by government measures put in place to support businesses and individuals during the pandemic, including:

  • Temporary restrictions on the use of statutory demands and certain winding-up petitions (leading to company compulsory liquidations).
  • Enhanced government financial support for companies and individuals.

As the Insolvency Service does not record whether an insolvency is directly related to the coronavirus pandemic, it is not possible to state the direct effect of the pandemic on insolvency volumes.

Debt relief orders and bankruptcies

There were 1,714 DROs and 614 bankruptcies in August 2021 in England & Wales.

The number of DROs in August 2021 was 29% higher than in August 2020 but 12% lower than in August 2019. Changes to DRO eligibility came into effect on 29 June 2021, including an increase in the level of debt at which people can apply for a DRO from £20,000 to £30,000.

The bankruptcies were made up of 550 debtor applications and 64 creditor petitions. The monthly total is the lowest in the series, which goes back to January 2019.

Bankruptcies were 22% lower than in August 2020. Debtor applications were 22% lower and creditor petitions were 24% lower than in August 2020.

Compared to August 2019, total bankruptcies were 54% lower; debtor applications were 50% lower and creditor petitions were 73% lower.

Individual voluntary arrangements

There were, on average, 7,021 IVAs registered per month in the three-month period ending August 2021, 44% higher than for the three-month period ending August 2020 and 4% higher than the three-months ending August 2019.

Breathing Space

Between 4 May (when the scheme was launched) and 31 August 2021 there were 22,151 breathing space registrations. These composed of 21,884 standard breathing space registrations and 267 mental health breathing space registrations (for those receiving mental health crisis treatment).

In August 2021 there were 4,854 breathing space registrations. This was made up of 4,786 (98.6%) standard breathing space registrations and 68 (1.4%) mental health breathing space registrations.

Note that the IVA series is historically volatile as it is based on date of registration at the Insolvency Service (see the Data Sources and Methodology section for more information).


We publish a summary of the reports here each month. For advice relating to support, insolvency or recovery options, please contact us.

* This content and data was reported in full in the Insolvency Service Statistics for August 2021 published 17 September 2021 – see the full report here:

Image source: The Insolvency Service Monthly insolvency statistics, August 2021