Monday, March 29, 1999 Published at 07:46 GMT 08:46 UK
Business: The Economy
UK business failures soar
The number of business failures in the UK has risen by more than a fifth during the first three months of the year, according to credit information company Dun & Bradstreet.
However, in absolute figures it was the South East that saw the largest number of companies fail - 2,085 in all, an increase of 14.4%.
The South West of England and Wales experienced a 40% increase, with respectively 1,365 and 444 companies going out of business.
Philip Mellor, senior analyst at Dun & Bradstreet, said: "The sudden increase in failures is a reflection of the slowdown in the economy and a cause for concern."
However, he stressed that the current rate of business failures was still much lower than during the early 1990s, when the country was in recession.
In the first three months of 1999 the whole of England and Wales saw just under 10,000 businesses fail. This figure includes both companies going bankrupt and those that were liquidated - where a company stops trading its assets are sold off.
In Scotland another 1,113 companies went bust, although the numbers are not strictly comparable because of differences in the bankruptcy law.
Overall 11,093 companies went bust, an increase of 20.8%.
The Economy Contents