Rate of Northern Irish insolvencies more than doubles

Out-Law News | 28 Jun 2019 | 8:55 am |

Political and commercial uncertainty is hindering business in Northern Ireland and is a factor behind an increase in the number of insolvencies reported, a Belfast-based legal expert has said.

According to data gathered by credit checking company Creditsafe, Northern Ireland saw a 114.3% rise in the rate of insolvencies between 2016/17 and 2018/19 – an increase greater than that recorded in any other part of the UK over the same period. The figures revealed that insolvencies grew across all areas of the UK, with the rate more than doubling in Greater London as well as in Northern Ireland.

Laura Gillespie of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, said the figures show the impact that uncertainty surrounding the outcome of Brexit has had on businesses since the UK voted to leave the EU in June 2016.

"The continuing uncertainty businesses face with Brexit is exerting considerable pressure – this ranges from uncertainty around supply chain, movement of goods across the island of Ireland and beyond as well as the availability of workers from the EU. This is most acute in Northern Ireland, with the ongoing debate over the 'backstop'," Gillespie said.

"It is clear that day-to-day financial pressures on many businesses are increasing, with the result that some are seeking the protection of administration whilst others are being forced into liquidation. Our advice to businesses has been consistent, that plans should be put in place for a 'no deal' Brexit to minimise any business disruption," she said.