Record number of companies go bust

27,000 firms forced to close during economic crisis, Conservatives say

More businesses have gone bust in this than in any previous recession, with 51 companies folding every day, according to Conservative party research.

Almost 27,000 have closed since the economic crisis began, compared with 24,000 during the early 1990s recession and 9,500 in the downturn of the early 1980s. The Tories claimed the figures showed that industry was facing its worst crisis in decades. The Government countered that the proportion of firms going to the wall was less than in half of previous economic downturns.

In a foretaste of likely election skirmishing next year over the state of the economy, a senior minister said the Tories would have "stood by" and presided over more company failures.

A total of 26,978 businesses have gone into liquidation or been declared insolvent since the recession began in the second quarter of 2008. That compares with 9,502 business collapses in the 1980-81 recession during the early years of the Thatcher government and 24,123 in the 1990-91 downturn under the Thatcher and Major administrations.In the nine-month recession of 1973-74, 1,925 firms went under. The high number of company failures this time is a result of the recession being the longest on record: it has now lasted for six quarters. The economy has contracted by 5.9 per cent over that period.

Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, has forecast that the economy will resume growth at the end of this year.

The Conservative research, based on figures from the Insolvency Service, suggests the recession could be deepening. It said 4,716 companies went to the wall during the third quarter of this year – 51 a day – an increase of 15 per cent on the same three months in 2008.

Last night the Tories claimed Mr Darling had tried to "cover up the truth" about the extent and impact of the recession. John Penrose, the shadow business minister, said: "This confirms what many people know already – far from abolishing boom and bust, Gordon Brown has handed this country its worst recession ever. Labour's recession has destroyed more businesses than any other recession since records began."

Liam Byrne, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said the number of corporate insolvencies in 2008 was 21,811, compared with 29,985 in 1991 and 33,203 in the following year. He also pointed out that the rate at which companies had gone into liquidation in England and Wales was 1.76 per cent in the 1990s recession, compared with 0.74 per cent during the current downturn. The rate for Scotland was 1 per cent in the 1990s and 0.4 per cent for this recession.

Mr Byrne said the Government had been praised by the International Monetary Fund for its "bold and wide-ranging" initiatives to support the economy, including helping 160,000 businesses defer £4bn in tax. He added: "This is in stark contrast to the Tories who would have stood by and let the recession do its worst. Even now, the Tories would cut back support for the economy, putting jobs, homes and businesses at risk."

Meanwhile, the TUC warns today that long-term unemployment has doubled to more than 200,000 since last Christmas. It says the number of people claiming jobseeker's allowance for more than 12 months has increased from 103,930 in December 2008 to 201,015 in November 2009. And it predicts that the number of long-term dole claimants will continue to rise into the New Year.

Life and Style
A nearly completed RoboThespian robot inside the Engineered Arts workshop is tested in Penryn, England. The Cornish company, operating from an industrial unit near Falmouth, is the world's only maker of commercially available life sized humanoid robots
techSuper-intelligent robots could decide destroying the human race is the kindest thing to do
News
The current recommendation from Britain's Chief Medical Officer, is that people refrain from drinking on at least two days a week
food + drinkTheory is that hangovers are caused by methanol poisoning
Life and Style
techConcept would see planes coated in layer of micro-sensors and able to sense wear and tear
News
Patrick Stewart in the classiest ice bucket to date
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
News
newsComedian Lee Hurst started trend with first tweet using the hashtag
News
scienceExcitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
News
newsRyan Crighton goes in search of the capo dei capi
Life and Style
Customers can get their caffeine fix on the move
food + drink
Extras
indybest

Arts and Entertainment
Actors front row from left, Jared Leto, Jennifer Lawrence, Meryl Streep, Ellen DeGeneres, Bradley Cooper, Peter Nyongío Jr., and, second row, from left, Channing Tatum, Julia Roberts, Kevin Spacey, Brad Pitt, Lupita Nyongío and Angelina Jolie as they pose for a
film
Sport
sport
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesHagel and Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
Life and Style
Horst P Horst mid-fashion shoot in New York, 1949
fashionFar-reaching retrospective to celebrate Horst P Horst's six decades of creativity
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Software Developer (Java /C# Programmer)- London

£30000 - £45000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A global investment management fi...

Senior Network Engineer-(CCIE, CCNP, Cisco, London)

£65000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-(CCIE, CC...

Senior Network Analyst - (CCIE, Cisco, CISSP)

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Analyst - (CCIE, C...

Senior Network Engineer-(Design, Implementation, CCIE)

£60000 - £80000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Senior Network Engineer-(Design, ...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition