A total of 1,480 companies became insolvent in August 2020.
Research & Reports

UK Business Insolvencies

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Here you will find all the latest details on company insolvencies across the UK and including Northern Ireland. This page is updated on a monthly basis and provides details on company insolvencies by month and sector since 2018. For real-time insight and alerts about company insolvencies please consider subscribing to the Creditsafe platform.

Key findings for August 2020:

  • A total of 1,480 companies became insolvent in August 2020.
  • The total number of insolvencies decreased by 4% compared to July 2020.
  • The total number of insolvencies fell by -13% against August 2019.
  • 16% of insolvencies came from within the professional services sector.

If you want to re-use this data please contact [email protected]

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Insolvencies by month

Total number of insolvencies by month.

The month of August saw a total of 1,480 companies become insolvent, a decrease of 4% on last month and 13% lower than August 2019.

This significant reduction in the overall number of insolvencies year-to-date undoubtedly reflects the particular circumstances resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, and resulting lockdown. Many distressed businesses are managing to keep afloat by making use of the high level of government support available, and many may well have opted to file for an extension with Companies House. However, as government schemes begin to come to an end and cash reserves become scarce many businesses may struggle to stay afloat. 

The total number of UK company insolvencies for the year rose to 13,026 by the end of August 2020. This represents a 13% decrease when compared to the same period (January – August) in 2019. Given that the trend for the period of January to March saw an increase of 13% we can expect the numbers to rise again once the economy restarts. Businesses may well not recover from the current slowdown and the administrative backlog in the courts and public administration will work through with a resulting rise in insolvencies.

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Insolvencies by sector

The total number of insolvencies by sector YTD.

Professional services move into the most significant contributor to the insolvency numbers representing 16% of all insolvencies in August, with 241 companies becoming insolvent. On a year to date basis, construction remains the sector with the highest number of insolvencies, with 1,944 companies becoming insolvent, representing 15% of the total.

Two sectors that traditionally see large numbers of failures are also worth examining and worth keeping under review. Wholesale & Retail saw an additional 142 companies become insolvent in August, bringing the year to date total up to 1,523 while 150 Hospitality businesses failed, bringing the sector’s total to a very similar 1,411 for the year. Taken together these sectors represent almost 23% of all insolvencies and with both areas particularly vulnerable to government lockdown measures and restrictions we can only expect additional failures as the year continues.

The table below shows the total number of insolvencies from January to August by sector. It also includes the % share of insolvencies for 2020 and % change compared to the same period in 2019.

Want to explore the data for yourself?

Whether you want to understand the impact of Insolvencies across a group of sectors or the likelihood of an individual company becoming insolvent, you can find all of this data and more within the Creditsafe platform.

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Creditsafe uses the following statuses to determine if a company has become insolvent:

  • In Liquidation.
  • Administrator Appointed.
  • Appointment of Liquidator.
  • Meeting of Creditors.
  • In Administration.
  • In Receivership.
  • Administrative Receiver Appointed.
  • Administration Order.
  • Company is wound-up.


Understanding the Standard Industry Classification (SIC) list:

We use 2 digit Standard Industry Classification (SIC) codes to create our list of 21 key sectors. These sectors are made up of over 700 individual industry codes.

Companies are required to file their primary business activity at companies house and we use this data to define the business type.  Download a list of all 700 SIC codes and descriptions here