Raymond Doherty 17 Oct 2019 11:12am

Almost half a million UK businesses in distress

There are now 40% more UK businesses in financial distress since the 2016 EU referendum, according to Begbies Traynor

The number of businesses in significant distress is now 489,000 – an increase of 22,000 year-on-year and a rise of 139,000 since the referendum.

The real estate and property, construction, retail and travel sectors are the most severely affected, says new research from insolvency experts Begbies Traynor.

“Three years on from the referendum and the latest Red Flag research highlights just how businesses are struggling as a result of uncertainty and a lack of investment,” said Julie Palmer, partner at Begbies Traynor, said.

“Much investment is on hold as businesses have their hands tied by not knowing what the state of play will be post-Brexit and whether the agreements or contracts they currently have in place will still be valid following the expected withdrawal, which is contributing to stifled growth nationwide.”

The number of businesses in “critical” financial distress has also risen 8% year-on-year.

Figures on Q3 published yesterday by the Office for National Statistics showed that the number of people in employment unexpectedly fell by 56,000 year-on-year to 32.69 million, as the Brexit deadline looms on 31 October.