Fewer firms going bust

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The number of business failures in Britain fell by nearly 10 per cent in the first three months of the year, providing further evidence of the increasing strength of the economy.

During the first quarter, the total number of failures, including companies, partnerships and sole traders, amounted to 10,329 - 1,101 fewer than in the first three months of last year, according to business information company Dun & Bradstreet.

The fall was caused mainly by a sharp drop in the proportion of larger companies going into liquidation, it said. The number of companies going into liquidation fell from 5,237 in the first quarter of last year to 4,517 in the first three months of this year, while the number of bankruptcies of smaller businesses fell by 6.1 per cent during the same period.

Senior analyst Philip Mellor said: "The latest figures are most encouraging after an upturn in the business failure rate during the last quarter of last year. We had feared that an increase in company liquidations might bring down a host of smaller firm bankruptcies in their wake. This has not happened yet, but with the business climate being so competitive, it remains to be seen if the decline in business failures continues throughout the year."