New figures from the Insolvency Service show there were 4,187 total underlying company insolvencies in England and Wales in Q1 2019, a rise of 6.3 per cent on the last quarter and up 5.1 per cent on the same quarter last year.
This is the second highest underlying level of insolvencies in any quarter since Q1 2014.
'The direction of travel for company failures is unmistakeably on the rise. Company administrations rose to their highest quarterly level in five years as Brexit related uncertainty continued to take its toll.
'People are clearly being cautious with their money in the face of uncertainty, particularly when it comes to big ticket purchases. Long haul holiday bookings are on the rise at the expense of European destinations, new car sales are down and big decisions such as moving house are being deferred or delayed which isn't helping the property and construction industry. The effects on the consumer retail market have also been all too evident with the high number of high profile CVAs and retail failures.
'Some businesses have had their normal cash flow plans thrown awry by stockpiling in advance of the date of the UK's supposed EU exit on 29 March. While many may be relieved that the immediate threat of a no deal exit has receded, some may be nursing a cashflow hangover which will need careful management over the coming months.
'Looking back over the 12 month period ending in Q4 2018, construction businesses continued to suffer the highest number of company failures, but the largest increase was in the retail and wholesale sector which saw a 9 per cent rise in insolvencies to 2,346 cases.'