You know how sometimes it can feel as if you are imagining things? Are we really that busy? When did I last take a full day off? Well, you're not imagining this. The Insolvency Service today (Wednesday 18 January) published the monthly insolvency statistics for December 2022.
The headlines tell most of the story. Data shows incontrovertibly that there were 1,964 company insolvencies registered in the last month of last year. This is 32 per cent higher than in December 2021 - 1,489 in all, and 76 per cent higher than the number registered pre-Coronavirus pandemic levels. In December 2019 when Boris Johnson was our prime minister and Liz Truss was foreign secretary, and we all didn't know any better, the number was a mere 1,119. Turning to personal insolvency; in December there were 397 Bankruptcies were registered, which is 13 per cent lower than in December 2021 and 64 per cent lower than in December 2019.
What is going on with the Personal Insolvency market? Debt Relief Order? Breathing Space? Other options? Someone tell us.
Some of the detail is helpful. Compulsory Liquidations are staging a similar comeback to Manchester United; there were 183 of them in December, more than three and a half times as many in December 2021 and 7 per cent higher than in December 2019. So much so that the Joint Baord celebrated with a very standard question about them in November 2022.
You know that we postulated that Debt Relief Orders might be suppressing Bankruptcies? Well, not really. The numbers are: 1,979 Debt Relief Orders were made in December 2022, 6 per cent higher than December 2021, but 5 per cent lower than in December 2019.
7,233 Individual Voluntary Arrangements registered per month in the three-month period ending December 2022, which is just 9 per cent higher than the three-month period ending December 2021, and 26 per cent higher than the three-month period ending December 2019.
As you all know, Christina Fitzgerald features as 'January' on the R3 calendar (we have ours over the sink in the NTI newsroom) and she boasts the title of chief executive. She said: "December and January are critical periods for many firms, and these issues, combined with strikes, bad weather and the economic challenges the UK has faced over the last three years may have dealt a further blow to businesses and business owners."
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