Insolvency statistics released for December 2020
Latest company and individual insolvency statistics remain low.
The latest monthly release of insolvency statistics for England and Wales was published on 15 January 2021. *
Overall numbers of company and individual insolvencies have remained low since the start of the
first UK lockdown in March 2020, when compared with the same time period last year.
Impact of COVID-19 business support measures
The overall low numbers are likely to be at least partly driven by Government measures set up in response to the coronavirus (COVID 19) pandemic, including:
- Reduced court and tribunal operations and reduced HMRC enforcement activity since the UK lockdown was applied
- Temporary restrictions on the use of statutory demands and certain winding-up petitions (leading to company compulsory liquidations) from 27 April and extended further to 31 December 2020 under the extensions to the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act.
- 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 its direct effect on insolvency volumes.
The statistics in detail – December 2020*
In December 2020 there was a total of 1228 company insolvencies in England and Wales, comprised of:
- 998 creditors’ voluntary liquidations (CVLs)
- 35 compulsory liquidations
- 150 administrations
- 45 company voluntary arrangements (CVAs)
There were no receivership appointments.
When compared with the number of company insolvencies registered in December 2019:
• Compulsory liquidations were 80% lower and CVLs were 26% higher. There were twice as many CVAs, though numbers were small and Administrations were 7% higher.
The total number of registered company insolvencies for England and Wales in December 2020 were higher than the comparable month in 2019 for the first time since the start of the first UK lockdown. However, statistics for individual months have more potential for volatility and therefore it is too soon to tell whether this represents an emerging trend. It should be noted that the numbers of company
insolvencies registered in December 2019 were themselves low compared to all other months in that
New procedures introduced by CIGA 2020
Between the 26 June and 30 November 2020, four companies obtained a moratorium and two companies had a restructuring plan sanctioned by the court. These two new procedures were created by the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020. The low number of cases of each of these new legislative tools since the Act came into force is likely to be as a result of the range of Government support provided to companies as mentioned above, including the range of temporary measures that have recently been extended for a further period.
Debt relief orders and bankruptcies
There were 1,241 DROs and 807 bankruptcies in December 2020 in England and Wales (the latter
were made up of 743 debtor applications and 64 creditor petitions). The numbers of DROs and
bankruptcies in December 2020 were 40% and 26% lower respectively than in December 2019.
Debtor applications were 20% lower and creditor petitions were 60% lower.
How the numbers may be affected
The fall in DROs and debtor bankruptcies corresponds with a reduction in applications which coincided with the announcement of enhanced Government financial support for individuals and businesses.
The fall in creditor bankruptcies will likely have been a result of reduced HMRC enforcement activity during this period and in part, a result of reduced operational running of the courts.
Individual voluntary arrangements
There were, on average, 7,918 IVAs registered in each of the 3 months ending December 2020,
38% higher than the rolling 3-month average observed in the same period ending December 2019.
How the numbers may be affected
IVAs are counted once they are registered with the Insolvency Service and are reported by month of registration date. There can be a time lag between the date on which the IVA is accepted (the date of creditor agreement) and the date of registration by licensed insolvency practitioners. This can lead to volatility in the data from one month to the next and create difficulty in constituting reliable short-term trends.
Three-month rolling averages have been calculated to smooth the data and indicate what the overall trend of IVA registrations might look like if the underlying data were less volatile.
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 December 2020, published 15 January 2021 – see the full report here: Monthly Insolvency Statistics December 2020 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
Image source: The Insolvency Service Monthly insolvency statistics, December 2020