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.

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleMemoir extracts show iconic designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

£70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

Nursery Nurse

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

SEN Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam