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Laura Tenison

Thousands of businesses "struggling to cope"

Almost 150,000 firms in the UK are struggling financially, a new survey has revealed.

According to the Red Flag Alert Report from Begbies Traynor Group – an insolvency specialist – a total of 147,836 enterprises experienced significant or critical financial problems in quarter four of 2010.

Those with critical issues owe creditors and suppliers more than £52bn.

Figures from the study show there has been a four per cent rise in the number of companies in fiscal distress compared to the same time period in 2009, when the figure stood at 141,527.

Ric Traynor, executive chairman of Begbies Traynor Group, suggested the findings show UK businesses are finding it difficult to cope.

“Coming against a backdrop of the largest decline in house prices for a year, higher inflation, an accelerated decline in business confidence and higher unemployment forecasted for 2011, these figures indicate the renewed challenges facing businesses across most industries in 2011, particularly in the small and medium-sized sector.

The sectors most exposed to public sector cuts, which include recruitment, advertising, IT and business services, saw a 24 per cent increase in the numbers of firms in difficulty, going from 49,756 in quarter three of 2009 to 61,534 in the same quarter in 2010.

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