CORPORATE insolvencies rose by almost a fifth last month to one of the highest figures seen since the start of the pandemic.

A representatives of the insolvency industry in Hampshire says the delay in lifting the final lockdown restrictions may have contributed to the rise.

Statistics for June showed corporate insolvencies in England and Wales rose 19 per cent on the previous month, to 1,207.

That was 62.9 per cent higher than the figure for June 2020.

Personal insolvencies rose 15.8 per cent to 9,836 month on month and were 18.8 per cent higher than the same month the previous year.

Garry Lee, chair of insolvency and restructuring trade body R3’s Southern and Thames Valley region, said: “The increase in corporate insolvencies between May and June – to the third highest monthly figure since the pandemic started – has been driven by a rise in Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidations (CVLs).

“The government’s decision to delay lifting the final Covid restrictions for another month has clearly been a further blow to the business community and may have been particularly unhelpful for the hospitality and retail sectors, which have been hit hardest by trading restrictions and lockdowns and are likely to have incurred additional costs in anticipation of opening."

The near-complete lifting of Covid restrictions was delayed for four weeks from its planned June 21 date.

Mr Lee said this may have made it uneconomic for many directors to continue trading.

He added: “However, we were heartened by the business secretary’s recent comments on HMRC’s planned approach to working with distressed businesses.

“In particular, the news that HMRC will take a supportive approach to rescue proposals from viable businesses is welcome, and we hope will support the profession’s efforts to support Covid-hit firms.”

The highest number of corporate insolvencies in any month since the start of the lockdown was 1,237 in December 2020. The next highest was 1,235 in March 2020.

The rise in personal insolvencies in June 2021, can be attributed to an increase in Individual Voluntary Arrangements.

Garry said: “While the pandemic has led to many people repaying their debts and boosting their savings, others have borrowed more, used their savings to cover a shortfall in income, or deferred paying certain debts.

“It’s these people who are financially vulnerable as things tentatively return to normal – and may be one unexpected shock away from running into trouble.”