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The fall in insolvencies keeps being seized upon as good news but it should not be overestimated as such. With rising unemployment, not least from the public sector cuts, servicing debt will be harder even for so-called “zombie debtors”, and there are many of those - both corporate and individual - just ticking along servicing interest payments.

In the commercial arena such businesses are a serious block to economic development in the UK, draining some business from the better operators and yet neither investing nor growing their own businesses, hampering those with the capacity to be more creative and dynamic.

There is no real recovery as yet, (+0.6% being only in margin of error territory) and the rise in insolvencies traditionally lags behind a recovery by a couple of years.

I think this is a different landscape and that we may see more gradual recovery with a more gradual clearout, possibly only accelerated in a few years time with interest rate rises. It would be nice to see some serious improvements made by recently introduced access to finance schemes but as yet there is little data on takeup or the reality of access.

Frances Coulson


Standout firm known for its personal insolvency work for clients including private companies, individuals and governmental institutions. Frequently acts for insolvency practitioners, assisting with the realisation of assets, both in the UK and abroad.

Chambers and Partners

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