2019 was a landmark year in many categories. As well as being the last full 12 months before any of us had heard of Covid-19, it also saw the end of Game of Thrones and Fleabag but the beginning of Succession and Ghosts. 

The charts saw extended periods at number one for Dance Monkey; Take Me Back to London and Senorita while football had a distinctly blue tinge as Manchester City completed a domestic treble retaining the Premier League title while also winning the League Cup and FA Cup too. 

So what does 2019 have to do with 2024 apart from being five years ago?

Well, The Insolvency Service has released its latest monthly insolvency statistics for businesses.  

February’s official figures for company insolvencies in England and Wales saw a total of 2,102 recorded which was an increase of 18.5% on the previous month’s total of 1,769 and 16.7% higher than the total from February 2023. 

The total is also the highest monthly number seen in a February since 2019, continuing this significant trend that began in August 2023 that has seen each following month up to and including February record insolvency numbers that are the highest in a five year period.

Seven consecutive months of this annual disparity 


Of the 2,102 corporate insolvencies in February, Creditors voluntary liquidations (CVLs) remain the most frequent type of business insolvency with 1,707. 

This is an increase of 413 from last month and 12% higher than the same month from a year ago. CVLs make up 81% of all insolvencies, up 8% from the proportion seen in January alone. 

There were 217 compulsory liquidations in February which was a decrease of 127, but was still 35% higher than the total recorded in February 2023.

The increase in voluntary liquidations while compulsory saw a reduction shows that directors are taking the initiative against aggressive creditors such as HMRC and others. 

The increased number of winding up petitions and statutory demands indicates that they are taking recouping debts seriously and are forcing business owners to make serious decisions around the future of their companies and their own careers. 

There were 166 administrations in February, an increase of 46 from January and an annual increase of 54% from February 2023. 

There were 12 company voluntary arrangements (CVAs) last month. This was a decrease of four from the previous month and was the same total a year ago. 

There were no receivership appointments recorded last month and no additional insolvency moratoriums recorded at Companies House from the 52 logged since June 2020.

There were also no additional business restructuring plans approved by the court with the total also remaining static since June 2020 at 22.


In Scotland last month there were a total of 94 company insolvencies recorded. This was six higher than last month and 9% higher than the total from 12 months ago. 

This month’s total consisted of 58 CVLs (up from 46); 33 compulsory liquidations (down from 34) and three administrations (down from seven). There were no CVAs or receivership appointments recorded.

Scotland traditionally has seen higher numbers of compulsory liquidations than other insolvency processes but CVLs overtook them at the beginning of 2020 and since 2023 have been one and a half times higher than compulsory liquidations.  

Northern Ireland

There were 26 company insolvencies registered in Northern Ireland which, although a reduction of four from last month, was a 100% increase on the total from February 2023. 

This was made up of nine CVLs (down from 17); 14 compulsory liquidations (up from six) and three administrations (up from one). Like Scotland there were no CVAs or receivership appointments recorded.

The total number of company insolvencies for the whole of the UK in February is 2,222 – an increase of 335 from January.

Nicky Fisher, President of R3, the insolvency and restructuring trade body said: “The monthly and yearly rise in corporate insolvencies is a result of a rise in both creditors voluntary liquidations and administrations, as more directors choose to close down their businesses or are seeking specialist help in an effort to survive. 

“February’s administration numbers were the highest level we’ve seen in February in more than four years, which is a sign that more and more businesses are at a point where a sale or a liquidation may be their only option.

“Businesses are still suffering the after-effects of last year’s economic turbulence. Rising fuel, energy and funding costs are cautious consumer spending are continuing to take their toll on bottom lines and make it harder for businesses to break even.

“Whilst there is still some optimism among firms about what the next year has in store, the economic conditions remain a key area of concern for many and unless things improve, we could see more and more firms turning to an insolvency process to help resolve their financial issues. 

“Directors and management teams need to remain vigilant and take action as soon as they spot any signs the business could be financially distressed, as doing so gives them more time to take a decision, more potential options for resolving the situation and a greater chance the business can be rescued. 

While we once again share the sentiments of R3, we also think that they might be underselling the potential severity of the issues facing directors and business owners this year. 

Business rates are scheduled to rise in April along with the minimum wage level; inflation is still at double the Bank of England’s target rate of 2% and interest rates remain at their highest level in 14 years. 

The recent Spring Budget didn’t contain much to cheer directors and the one surprise that wasn’t trailed in advance was making changes to the requirements of Debt Relief Orders (DROs), which will see an increase in individuals entering DROs and a fall in the amount of people entering other processes. 

This could be one of those decisions that will have unforeseen and oversized downstream effects as several sole traders and suppliers you deal with as well as staff could come under these requirements. 

With so much volatility already affecting issues outside of your control, it might be time to concentrate on what you can control – and that includes getting some impartial and professional advice. 

We offer a free initial consultation to any business owner or director that wants to get a clearer idea of their options both right now and in the future depending on what happens in the next few weeks and months. 

Then they will be able to implement decisions and steer the business closer to where they want it to be rather than let it be buffeted about by whatever winds and storms blow in 2024.