Company insolvency statistics - Q4 2021

The October to December 2021 (Q4) company insolvency stats for England and Wales have been published by The Insolvency Service, together with related figures for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Insolvency Stats UK Q4 2021

Company insolvency statistics for England and Wales – 2021

There were 14,048 underlying company insolvencies in 2021, which was higher than the 12,634 in 2020, but remained below pre-pandemic levels. In 2021, there were a total of:

  • 12,661 creditors’ voluntary liquidations (CVLs) – a 33% increase from 2020
  • 475 compulsory liquidations – a 65% decrease from 2020
  • 796 administrations – a 48% decrease from 2020
  • 115 company voluntary arrangements (CVAs) – a 56% decrease from 2020
  • 1 receivership – two less than in 2020

Company insolvency statistics for England and Wales – Q4 2021

It should be noted that unlike monthly insolvency statistics, quarterly statistics are seasonally adjusted to account for seasonal variation in insolvencies across the year and allow for comparison to the most recent period within years.

After seasonal adjustment (where applicable), there were a total of 4,627 company insolvencies in England and Wales in Q4 2021, including:

  • 4,175 creditors’ voluntary liquidations (CVLs)
  • 147 compulsory liquidations
  • 272 administrations
  • 33 company voluntary arrangements (CVAs)
  • 0 receiverships

Total company insolvencies in Q4 2021 increased by 18 per cent from Q3 2021 and by 51 per cent from the same quarter in the previous year.

The overall increase in company insolvencies in Q4 2021 was driven by a rise in CVLs, which accounted for 90 per cent of all company insolvencies. These increased by 15 per cent from Q3 2021 and were 68 per cent higher than during the same quarter last year. The number of CVLs was the highest quarterly number since the series began in 1960.

Between 26 June 2020 and 31 December 2021, 15 companies obtained a moratorium and 10 companies had a restructuring plan registered at Companies House, procedures created by Created by the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020.

Liquidation rate statistics for England and Wales – Q4 2021

In the 12 months ending Q4 2021:

  • 1 in 304 companies were liquidated
  • the company liquidation rate was 32.9 per 10,000 active companies in England and Wales
  • the company liquidation rate was higher than in both the 12 months ending Q3 2021 and the same quarter a year ago, as a result of an increased rate of CVLs

Unlike the absolute number of liquidations over a period, the liquidation rate indicates the probability of a company entering liquidation in the previous four quarters. In general, periods of economic growth result in liquidation rates decreasing.

Industry sector insolvency findings for England and Wales – 2021

The three industries (in accordance with SIC 2007) that experienced the highest number of insolvencies in 2021 were:

  • construction (2,579 insolvencies, 19% of cases with industry captured)
  • wholesale and retail trade and repair of vehicles (1,722 insolvencies, 12% of cases with industry captured)
  • accommodation and food services activities (1,673 insolvencies, 12% of cases with industry captured)

The construction industry tends to have the highest quarterly number of insolvencies of any industrial grouping. Increases in insolvencies were seen across most industries in 2021 compared to 2020. The only large sector to show a decrease in insolvency numbers was the manufacturing sector, which was down by 13 per cent.

Scotland company insolvency statistics – Q4 2021

The Accountant in Bankruptcy, Scotland’s Insolvency Service, administers company insolvency in Scotland. They reported that in Q4 2021, there were 263 company insolvencies, an increase of 80 per cent when compared to Q4 2020. Of the total company insolvencies in Scotland, there were:

  • 48 compulsory liquidations
  • 203 CVLs
  • 12 administrations
  • 0 CVAs
  • 0 receiverships

Due to administrative differences, most company liquidations in Scotland are compulsory liquidations. This contrasts with England and Wales where creditors’ voluntary liquidations (CVLs) account for most company liquidations. Figures in Scotland are also not seasonally adjusted.

Northern Ireland company insolvency statistics – Q4 2021

In Northern Ireland in Q4 2021, there were 32 company insolvencies, an increase of 33 per cent when compared with the same quarter of the previous year. Of the total company insolvencies in Northern Ireland, there were:

  • 10 compulsory liquidations
  • 18 CVLs
  • 1 CVA
  • 0 administrations
  • 0 administrative receiverships

Please note, the figures for Northern Ireland are not seasonally-adjusted.

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

Enquire now

Next insolvency statistics release

Figures for Q1 2022 will be released on 28 April 2022.

See also

Individual insolvency statistics – Q4 2021

Company insolvency statistics - Q3 2021

What you need to know about Corporate Insolvency and Governance Bill

Find out more

Company Insolvency Statistics, October to December 2021 (GOV.UK)

The Insolvency Service (GOV.UK)

Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB)

Image: Getty Images

Publication date: 31 January 2022