North West administrations hit four-year high, latest figures reveal

Rick Harrison

The North West saw a four-year high in administrations last month.

There were 19 administrations in January 2024, the highest level of corporate distress at the start of a year since 2020, according to research by Interpath Advisory.

Analysis of notices in The Gazette by Interpath also shows that the North West accounted for more than a quarter (26%) of total administrations seen across the UK in the first month of the year. The figure is the highest on record since January 2020 (21 cases).

The analysis also shows that there were 245 administrations in 2023 across the North West, representing a 15% increase from 213 cases in 2022.

The most impacted sectors were industrial manufacturing (44 cases), business services (40 cases) and building & construction (35 cases).

The figures reflect the overall national trend with administrations rising 25% over 2023 to 1,307, up from 1,049 in 2022 as sluggish growth, persistent high interest rates, and fragile consumer sentiment continued to impact British businesses.

Rick Harrison, Managing Director and Head of Interpath’s team in the North West, said: “The number of administrations continues to rise as the financial challenges of recent years take their toll on businesses.

“For many North West companies, 2023 was difficult, despite signs towards the latter end of the year that some of the prevailing economic headwinds might be starting to lessen.”

He added: “We’ve seen a steady and incremental uplift of insolvency activity over the course of the past 12 months and the start of 2024 hasn’t provided much cheer for management teams in the region.”

Looking ahead to the outlook for the rest of 2024, Rick concluded: “With the confirmation that the UK has tipped into recession, the outlook for businesses remains precarious.

“But it’s not all doom and gloom out there. Inflation is proving sticky but didn’t rise as many had expected, we have a resilient domestic labour market and there’s a lot of liquidity in the debt market, which means borrowers continue to have plenty of options.

“Nevertheless, 2024 will likely remain a period of elevated interest rates by historic standards, and weak consumer confidence will continue to impact those sectors already feeling the pinch.”