INSOLVENCY activity has again increased in the south east, according to the UK’s insolvency and restructuring trade body.

R3 figures showed a rise in this activity from 246 in February to 261 in March, remaining consistent with the 12-month high of 277 in March 2023.

The body has warned trends are continuing to rise, following its analysis of data from Creditsafe.

Data also showed the number of firms in liquidation which owed money to their creditors remained static at 377 in March, up one from 376 in February.

The south east now has the fourth highest figure for insolvency related activities in the UK, moving ahead of Yorkshire and Humberside and the West Midlands.

Nationally, 2,598 companies became insolvent in March 2024, a slight decrease from February.

Neil Stewart, chairman of R3’s Southern and Thames Valley region, which includes Dorset, said: “Although we see signs of recovery as spring kicks in, it remains tough for many businesses.

“March’s figures reveal that economic challenges remain, with, again, an increasing number of companies being pushed into insolvency by multiple causes.

“The good news is that inflation, now at 3.4 per cent, is expected to continue a downward trajectory, the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) forecasts UK GDP to grow by 0.7 per cent in 2024 and by 1.2 per cent in 2025 and the Growth Guarantee Scheme was boosted with a further £200m by the Chancellor.”

Neil is a regional associate director at insolvency litigation financing company Manolete Partners Plc.

He added the reality for some businesses was that the situation remained desperate.

He said: “If at all concerned, take advice from a qualified and regulated source, before your business has passed the point of no return, and preferably while it remains solvent.

“When liabilities exceed assets it usually means that a company has become insolvent, but not necessarily beyond hope of a full recovery if swift and decisive remedial action is taken.”

Creditsafe’s data did show the number of start-ups in the south east continue to decrease, from February’s 7,150 to 6,311 in March.