THE full impact on businesses from the coronavirus crisis will only be revealed in the coming months as government support tails off, experts say.

The lockdown has seen a sharp fall in the number of insolvencies among companies in many parts of Hampshire.

But business failures are likely to rise sharply as the chancellor’s coronavirus aid tapers out.

Twenty-two companies in the Southampton City Council area filed for liquidation between March 24 and June 30, compared with 107 in the same period last year, an investigation by the BBC Shared Data Unit has revealed.

In Eastleigh, the figure fell from 75 to 18 and in the New Forest it fell from 21 to nine, while in Winchester it remained constant at 30. Test Valley saw a rise from four to 15 and Fareham a rise from three to seven.

In Portsmouth, the figure rose from six to 13; in Basingstoke and Dean from four to 12; in East Hampshire from zero to nine; in Gosport from one to two; in Havant from one to eight; and in Rushmoor from two to 16. In Hart, the figure fell from 13 to 13.

The figures have been limited by the government’s £160billion support for businesses and by a pause in insolvency procedures.

There was positive news in the data, with 538 new companies registered in Southampton during the lockdown, 334 in the New Forest, 306 in Winchester, 226 in Eastleigh, 225 in Test Valley and 174 in Fareham.

There were 462 new businesses in East Hampshire, 408 in Portsmouth, 269 in Basingstoke and Deane, 226 in Havant, 170 in Rushmoor and 166 in Hart.

Nationally, insolvency notices were down 25 per cent on last year, but the information and communication sector saw a 31 per cent rise. Researchers also found the events industry was “on its knees”, with conferences not allowed until October.

Accommodation, food, arts and recreation, retail and construction all saw insolvencies drop, as government aid helped keep firms afloat despite the lockdown.

Economist Stuart Adam said: “Since many firms will undoubtedly shrink or go out of business and jobs will be lost – especially as the furlough scheme comes to an end – it will be vital over the coming months and years for others to start up or expand, to fill the gap and employ those left out of work.”

Insolvency specialist Begbies Traynor recently pointed to a rising number of firms in “significant financial distress”. It says the economy before lockdown contained many “zombie businesses” – those which could not clear their debts or raise money to expand but which could continue trading.

2,600 Southampton businesses in 'significant financial distress'

Partner Julie Palmer said: “This crisis will force many zombie companies out of business. While these were clinging on to survival prior to the pandemic, many will now have become simply unviable due to high levels of debts and poor sales.”

A Treasury spokesperson said: “We’ve outlined a three point plan for supporting businesses through the crisis and spurring the UK’s economic recovery.

“The first stage of this was our £160 billion support package for business that included our job retention scheme, which has protected more than nine million jobs and has been extended until the end of October.”

The second stage, announced in July, included a 15 per cent VAT cut for hospitality, leisure and retail, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Bonus, and job creation through investment in greening homes and buildings.

“As the economy re-opens, we will continue to look at how to adjust our support in a way that ensures people can get back to work, protecting both the UK economy and the livelihoods of people across the country,” the spokesperson added.