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Gloucestershire Business News

Domino effect leaves £800m trail of unpaid debt

The failure of British businesses since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March has created a domino effect of debt amounting to almost £800million of outstanding invoices.

Research by corporate distress data analysts Red Flag Alert found an average debt of £28,501 with bars and restaurants, construction, retail, logistics and real estate businesses at very high risk of failure.

Construction is the sector with the most lockdown business failures, 1,884 reported cases owing £364million to suppliers - up from £235million of insolvent debt from the same period in 2019.

A further 120 companies in the construction industry are at high risk.

The retail sector follows closely behind, leaving £316million insolvent debt in the wake of the failures.

Red Flag Alert partner Mark Halstead said: "When a company goes into administration, understandably the immediate focus is on the amount of loss of a brand or legacy and the jobs potentially under threat.

"The story that's not often told is the significant pressure this will place on the businesses in their supply chain and the sector that they operate within.

"The reality is that this research shows more than 25,000 businesses have experienced unpaid bills since lockdown because of the domino effect of these business failures."

He continued: "The overall figures seem stark, but in fact they are lower than the same period last year in terms of the total number of company failures and the level of insolvent debt across these sectors as a whole.

"Government support for businesses has created a limbo period.

"Unfortunately, the current outlook is that we expect high levels of business failures and payment defaults during the next six months which will create more stress in these key sectors.

"It's never been more important to understand the strength of the companies within your supply chain and any to pinpoint any potential distress."

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