UK small business failures rise but large companies hold their ground

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The Independent Online

Small businesses have taken the brunt of the impact on the UK from the global economic slowdown, according to figures on corporate failures out today.

Small businesses have taken the brunt of the impact on the UK from the global economic slowdown, according to figures on corporate failures out today.

A total of 18,191 small firms have gone to the wall in the first nine months of the year, a 3.5 per cent increase on the same period in 2000, Dun & Bradstreet said. But the business information company noted there was encouraging news from large companies, where the number of liquidations dropped by almost 7 per cent.

The total number of business failures actually fell by 257 to 30,668. D&B said it was surprised there had not been a larger impact. Philip Mellor, a senior analyst at B&B, said large companies had cut back on staff over the last three to six months to counter the slowdown in demand.

"This has had the inevitable consequence on smaller businesses which are bearing the brunt of their cutbacks and going under," he said. "Over the next three months it remains to be seen whether larger companies as well as smaller ones will be affected"

He said it was too early to say whether there had been any increase in failures in the wake of the terrorist attacks on the US.

There were wide regional variations with business failures falling more than 10 per cent in Wales and the South- east but rising by 9 per cent in Scotland. Business failures rose in the East by 5.8 per cent, in the North-east by 4.4 per cent and in London by 2.2 per cent. They declined by about 3 per cent in the South-west and East Midlands.

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