INSOLVENCY-related activity has fallen by 34 per cent in the region, new figures have revealed.

Latest data shows insolvency-related activities fell from 225 in December to 147 in January.

These include administrator and liquidator appointments together with creditors’ meetings.

However, the UK’s insolvency and restructuring trade body, R3, has warned insolvency trends remain uneven.

It comes following its analysis of data about insolvencies and start-ups supplied by business intelligence provider, Creditsafe.

Neil Stewart, chairman of R3’s Southern and Thames Valley region which includes Dorset, said: “Inflation has continued to fall and we can remain cautiously optimistic.

“The economic challenges haven’t gone away, though, and it is particularly tough for hotels, hospitality and leisure, a sector which traditionally faces a quiet first quarter of the year, and for construction which continues to feel the effects of external factors.”

R3’s findings also revealed the number of firms in liquidation which owed money to their creditors in the south east rose from 235 in December to 383 in January.

The figure remains the sixth highest for any part of the UK.

Nationally, a total of 1,947 companies became insolvent in January 2024, down 30 per cent on the December 2023.

Meanwhile, Creditsafe said the total number of insolvencies increased by 10 per cent compared to January 2023.

Neil, a regional associate director at insolvency litigation financing company Manolete Partners, added: “The first step in tackling mounting problems which have no obvious solution, is to pick up the phone to a restructuring and insolvency expert.

“Most R3 members will give a free initial consultation and you might just save your business if you take that simple step.”

Latest Creditsafe data shows a small increase for the second month running in the number of companies with invoices past their payment deadline from 57,208 in December to 57,392 in January.

The 12-month high remains 60,831 in February.

Meanwhile, the number of late payments made by companies owing money was up from 473,328 in December to 481,053 in January.

The number of start-ups in the south east was up from 4,743 in December, to 7,282 in January, which is the highest figure for at least two years.