Reality of Brexit uncertainty starting to bite as business and personal insolvencies soar

The reality of Brexit uncertainty is starting to bite, experts have said after the number of personal insolvencies hit its highest level since 2011.

Insolvency Service figures showed 115,299 people became insolvent in England and Wales last year, 20 per cent up on 2017.

The number of companies going under also reached a five-year high in 2018. There were 17,439 company insolvencies last year — the highest since 2013 — driven by a big jump in numbers of builders and retailers collapsing.

Brian Johnson, business recovery and insolvency partner at H W Fisher & Company, said: “The reality of Brexit, and the economic uncertainty caused by it, is beginning to bite. That much is clear from the latest insolvency figures. Until there is a greater certainty about Britain’s future, businesses and households will continue to suffer.

“Company insolvencies rose 10 per cent in 2018 compared with a year earlier and to the highest level since 2014. The economic uncertainty caused by Brexit will be responsible for a great deal of these insolvencies.

“Large companies are withholding investment decisions, which is already having a significant detrimental impact on smaller companies further down the supply chain. There is plenty of evidence of this happening in both the retail and construction sectors. Moreover, a lot of larger retailers and construction firms are stretching payment terms to the limit, heaping even more pressure on their suppliers. A disorderly Brexit will only exacerbate these issues meaning more companies are bound to go to the wall.”

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