What do the latest insolvency statistics tell us?

Insolvency statistics relating to the fourth quarter 2013 have been released and can be accessed here. Commenting on the statistics, Frances Coulson said:

While it might appear that reducing insolvencies is cause for cheer, it is not the full picture.

Personal insolvency figures exclude a massive swathe of people in Debt Management Plans - far more than bankruptcy numbers - (many of which go on to fail). Also excluded are people simply servicing interest payments and barely keeping their heads above water who are vulnerable to any small fluctuation in cost of living or unexpected expense. As with corporate failures which are also reducing, an interest rate rise would tip many over the edge.

Since 2008 company dissolutions rose considerably and, while I haven’t seen recent figures, I suspect that some “zombie” companies have quietly faded away.

The recovery is being talked up but a percentage here or there is a fragile recovery. No doubt insolvency rates will continue to flatline or fall in 2013 but the story may be different mid 2015 if the predicted interest rate rise Q4 2014 or Q1 2015 materialises.

Even with recovering property prices in many areas there is a time lag to extract cash for equity from any improvement and the fact remains that UKplc is a country living on debt and needs to produce actual wealth, not just hope inflation solves the issues.

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