Monthly UK insolvency statistics - May 2021

In response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the individual and company May 2021 insolvency statistics for England and Wales have been published by the Insolvency Service, together with related insolvency figures for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Monthly Insolvency Stats UK May 2021

Insolvency statistics for England and Wales following coronavirus lockdown

The Insolvency Service is releasing monthly company and individual insolvency statistics for England and Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as monthly company statistics for Scotland, throughout the remainder of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and for a period thereafter.

However, these statistics are marked ‘experimental’ since the process of compiling insolvency data in monthly format is new to the statistics team at the Insolvency Service and is subject to review. The Insolvency Service also notes that as they do not record whether an insolvency is directly related to the coronavirus pandemic, as it is not possible to state its direct effect on insolvency volumes.

According to The Insolvency Service, the overall number of company insolvencies since the start of lockdown last year is likely to be impacted by the range of government measures put in place to financially support companies in response to the coronavirus pandemic, including the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act.

Company insolvency statistics for England and Wales – May 2021

Overall, the numbers of registered company insolvencies have remained low since the start of the first UK lockdown in March 2020, when compared with the same time period last year.

Total company insolvencies increased in May 2021 when compared to May 2020. In May 2021, there were a total of 1,011 company insolvencies in England and Wales, which included:

  • 930 creditors’ voluntary liquidations (CVLs)
  • 31 compulsory liquidations
  • 43 administrations
  • 6 company voluntary arrangements (CVAs)
  • 1 receivership

Overall company insolvencies in May 2021 were 25 per cent lower when compared to May 2019 but 7 per cent higher when compared to May 2020. When compared with the number of company insolvencies registered in May 2020 and May 2019:

  • compulsory liquidations were 6% lower than 2020 and 89% lower than 2019
  • CVLs were 18% higher than 2020 and 3% lower than 2019
  • CVAs were 50% lower than 2020 and 81% lower than 2019
  • administrations were 61% lower than both 2020 and 55% lower than 2019

Individual insolvency statistics for England and Wales – May 2021

As individual voluntary arrangement (IVA) numbers have been calculated using different methodology, they are presented separately to debt relief orders (DROs) and bankruptcies.

Overall DROs and bankruptcies decreased in May 2021 when compared to the same month last year and May 2019, while IVAs were lower than the rolling three-month average observed in the period ending May 2020 but slightly higher than May 2019.

In May 2021, there were:

  • 7,393 IVAs registered (using a three-month rolling average)
  • 1,525 DROs
  • 718 bankruptcies (647 debtor bankruptcies and 71 creditor bankruptcies)

Debt relief orders and bankruptcies

The number of DROs in May 2021 was similar to in May 2020 and 33 per cent lower when compared to May 2019.

Bankruptcies were 3 per cent lower than in May 2020 and this was driven by a drop in debtor applications (6 per cent lower), however creditor petitions were 39 per cent higher. It should be noted that creditor petitions were particularly low in May 2020 as this was during the first UK lockdown. Compared to May 2019, total bankruptcies were 50 per cent lower.

Individual voluntary arrangements

Due to volatile data, the Insolvency Service provided three-month rolling averages for IVAs, which indicate what the overall trend of IVA registrations might look like.

Using the three-month rolling average, IVAs in May 2021 were 6 per cent lower when compared to the average number of registered IVAs during each of the three months ending May 2020 and 4 per cent higher than the three-months ending May 2019.

Company insolvency statistics for Scotland – May 2021

The Accountant in Bankruptcy, Scotland’s Insolvency Service, administers company insolvency in Scotland. They reported that in May 2021 company insolvencies in Scotland increased when compared to May 2020 but decreased when compared to May 2019.

There were 51 company insolvencies in total, an increase of 46 per cent when compared to May 2020 and 35 per cent lower than May 2019. Total corporate insolvencies in Scotland in May 2021 consisted of:

  • 8 compulsory liquidations
  • 37 CVLs
  • 5 administrations
  • 1 CVA
  • 0 receivership appointments

Company and individual insolvency statistics for Northern Ireland – May 2021

In Northern Ireland in May 2021 there were:

  • 7 company insolvencies
  • 194 individual insolvencies

Companies insolvencies were 40 per cent higher when compared to May 2020 but 83 per cent lower when compared to May 2019 and consisted of six CVLs and one compulsory liquidation. There were no CVAs, administrations or administrative receiverships.

Individual insolvencies were 120 per cent higher than in May 2020 but down 18 per cent from May 2019 and consisted of:

  • 156 IVAs
  • 26 DROs
  • 12 bankruptcies

It should be noted that the number of individual insolvencies in May 2020 was particularly low, following no individual insolvencies in April 2020, so comparisons to this month may not be valid.

Where can I see insolvency notices in The Gazette?

The Gazette is the primary source of both corporate insolvency and personal insolvency information in the UK and publishes this information in the form of insolvency notices, allowing transparency for the public, the credit industry and concerned individuals to quantify risk and inform creditors. You can view all corporate and personal insolvency notices on The Gazette website.

The Gazette also provides a data service which gives access to official intelligence on all UK businesses, corporate and personal insolvencies. Benefits of The Gazette’s data service include:

  • Bespoke reports - tailored around your specific business
  • Geo-targeted editions - available for specific geographical targeting (National, London, Belfast, Edinburgh)
  • Custom filters - specific custom attributes (company number, notice type, key terms)
  • Data at regular intervals - delivered at a rate to match your business needs (daily, weekly, monthly)

For more information on The Gazette’s data service, contact the team on 01603 985949 or email

Next insolvency statistics release

Individual and company insolvency statistics for June 2021 will be released on 16 July 2021.

See also

Monthly UK insolvency statistics - April 2021

Company insolvency statistics - Q1 2021

UK individual insolvency statistics - Q1 2021

About The Gazette’s data service

What you need to know about Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill

Find out more

Monthly Insolvency Statistics May 2021 (GOV.UK)

The Insolvency Service (GOV.UK)

Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB)

Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 (Legislation)

Image: Getty Images

Publication date: 15 June 2021