Insolvency Trends Uncovered

Restructuring Insights

Colleagues talking

2023 continues to be challenging for UK companies, with the overall number of insolvencies in Q3 remaining in line with the first half of the year, and up 8.8% from Q3 2022.

Creditors' Voluntary Liquidation (CVL) continue to make up a significant proportion of the total, with 80% of all appointments formed of CVLs of businesses with under £1m of reported revenue. However, Q3 has seen a sharp uptick in the number of administrations, which are up almost 27% from Q2.

Creditors (inc. HMRC) continue to take a tougher stance in an increasingly uncertain market, as winding-up petitions continue their upward trajectory in 2023. While still not up to pre-pandemic levels, petitions filed in Q3 2023 are up almost 30% from Q3 2022.

Technology and Hospitality & Leisure sectors hit hard

Continuing the trend from H1 2023, the Hospitality & Leisure sector continues to come up against challenging market conditions. Q3 2023 has seen a further increase in business failures, with the sector making up 18.4% of all insolvencies, and up 26.5% from Q3 2022. The South East (excl. London) has been hit particularly hard, making up 27% of insolvencies in the sector in Q3 2023.

Although the upcoming festive season may provide some welcome respite, the combination of staff and stock costs, supply chain demands, as well as high rents and interest rates, will make for a challenging final quarter.

Meanwhile, business failures in the Technology sector continue the sharp upward trajectory seen in the year to date, up 26% from Q3 2022. Together, London and the South East make up over half of the Q3 2023 total.

The top 10 sectors in Q3 by volume of insolvencies make up 92% of all business failures in Q3 2023. Healthcare replaces Consumer as a new entry to the top 10 compared to. the first half of the year, increasing 21% from last quarter. In more positive news, both Entertainment & Media and Real Estate are showing early signs of improvement, down 15% and 12% respectively from last quarter.

Insolvency across the UK: Q3 23 vs. Q3 22

UK

Q3

6,334

2023

5,825

2022

Total Movement*

8.7% {{arrow-up}}

*Movement in total insolvency and Numbers Q3 2023 vs Q3 2022

Scotland

Q3

259

2023

260

2022

Total Movement*

-0.4% {{arrow-down}}

*Movement in total insolvency and Numbers Q3 2023 vs Q3 2022

North East & Yorkshire

Q3

875

2023

777

2022

Total Movement*

12.6% {{arrow-up}}

*Movement in total insolvency and Numbers Q3 2023 vs Q3 2022

North West

Q3

880

2023

746

2022

Total Movement*

18.0% {{arrow-up}}

*Movement in total insolvency and Numbers Q3 2023 vs Q3 2022

Midlands

Q3

967

2023

967

2022

Total Movement*

0%

*Movement in total insolvency and Numbers Q3 2023 vs Q3 2022

South East

Q3

1,934

2023

1,801

2022

Total Movement*

7.4% {{arrow-up}}

*Movement in total insolvency and Numbers Q3 2023 vs Q3 2022

London

Q3

883

2023

828

2022

Total Movement*

6.6% {{arrow-up}}

*Movement in total insolvency and Numbers Q3 2023 vs Q3 2022

Wales & West

Q3

486

2023

400

2022

Total Movement*

21.5% {{arrow-up}}

*Movement in total insolvency and Numbers Q3 2023 vs Q3 2022

Northern Ireland

Q3

50

2023

46

2022

Total Movement*

8.7% {{arrow-up}}

*Movement in total insolvency and Numbers Q3 2023 vs Q3 2022

Larger businesses not immune

Whilst 98% of all insolvency appointments in Q3 are for businesses with reported revenue under £1m, we continue to see the impact on larger businesses. Q3 has seen c.30 businesses with revenue over £25m enter an insolvency process. These businesses employ more than 23,000 staff, and collectively generate over £4bn in revenue.

For more guidance, support and advice please contact David Kelly or any of the relevant experts listed below and across PwC’s extensive Restructuring & Insolvency UK network which operates nationwide.


This data is seasonally adjusted and is therefore subject to change.

This content is generated using publicly available information from The Gazette and Companies House, under the Open Government Licence © Crown Copyright 2023. Financial information sourced from Company Watch. Company Watch Limited, its affiliates and its licensors shall have no liability regarding the information provided.

This publication has been prepared for general guidance on matters of interest only, and does not constitute professional advice. You should not act upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining specific professional advice. No representation or warranty (express or implied) is given as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained in this publication.

© 2023 PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. All rights reserved. PwC refers to the UK member firm, and may sometimes refer to the network. Each member firm is a separate legal entity. Please see www.pwc.com/structure for further details.

Contact us

David Kelly

David Kelly

Restructuring and Insolvency Partner, UK Head of Insolvency, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7974 332659

Toby Banfield

Toby Banfield

Restructuring and Insolvency Partner, PwC United Kingdom

Zelf Hussain

Zelf Hussain

Restructuring and Insolvency Partner, London, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7801 976521

Isabelle Gross

Isabelle Gross

Restructuring and Insolvency Partner, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7802 659267

Follow us
Hide