A North East insolvency practitioner says that the number of insolvencies remained 'well above pre-pandemic levels' in December.

Kerry Pearson is a partner and insolvency practitioner at accountancy and advisory firm Azets, which has regional offices in Alnwick, Crook, Durham, Hexham, Newcastle, Morpeth, Seaton Burn and Wynyard.

Company insolvencies exceeded 25,000 in England and Wales during 2023, the highest level since the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2009.

In December 2023, there were 2,002 company insolvencies, a decrease from the previous month's 2,466.

Ms Pearson said: “This is unsurprising as insolvencies are usually lower in December. However, levels remain slightly higher than in the previous year (1,965 in December 2022) and continue to be well above pre-pandemic levels.

“Despite the monthly decrease in corporate failures, in total in 2023, they are at their highest level since the aftermath of the financial crisis in 2009.

“We expect that fallout from the impact of large corporate failures in the construction industry will continue, and early indications are that the Christmas trading period was quieter than hoped, increasing the pressure on leisure and hospitality businesses, where we expect further insolvencies in the coming months."

Ms Pearson says that administrations were also reduced in December, but that it's anticipated that "larger companies will seek to restructure and secure the profitable parts of the business going forward."

Property-related businesses are still said to be feeling the squeeze.

Ms Pearson said: “Although interest rates appear to have stabilised, property-related businesses are still feeling the pressure and are being forced to make tough decisions. Taking early advice is key to avoiding a terminal process such as liquidation.”