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Top 10 industries with the biggest decrease in insolvencies

Rank Industry 2016 Insolvencies 2020 Insolvencies Five Year Change
1 Mining and Quarrying 52 18 -66.8%
2 Administrative and Support Service Activities 3219 1441 -60.4%
3 Water Supply; Sewerage, Waste Management and Remediation Activities 131 78 -45.4%
4 Construction 2546 2051 -30.8%
5 Information and Communication 879 688 -28.2%
6 Wholesale and Retail Trade; Repair Of Motor Vehicles and Motorcycles 2046 1673 -21.9%
7 Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities 1200 999 -18.4%
8 Education 170 151 -17.4%
9 Manufacturing 1346 1162 -16.5%
10 Real Estate Activities 372 351 -16.1%


In the majority of cases, insolvencies in the UK have actually declined since 2016. Perhaps most notably, the industry which saw its insolvency rate fall the most was mining and quarrying, where the rate has dropped by two-thirds, from 43.2 per 1,000 businesses in 2016 to 14.3 in 2020. However, this was also the industry that actually had the highest insolvency rate in 2020.

Administrative and support service activities (which includes things like rental and leasing activities, travel agencies and security services) also saw a significant drop (-60.4%) as did water supply (-45.4%). However, such high decreases are likely to be due to the extensive rollout of government business support over the last year.

The 5 industries with an increase in insolvencies


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Rank Industry 2016 Insolvencies 2020 Insolvencies Five Year Change
1 Arts, Entertainment and Recreation 219 285 18.1%
2 Other Service Activities 556 596 6.1%
3 Accommodation and Food Service Activities 1529 1705 2.1%
4 Financial and Insurance Activities 272 323 0.4%
5 Public Administration and Defence; Compulsory Social Security 10 11 0.2%


There were five sectors that saw an increase in insolvencies, the most notable of which was arts, entertainment and recreation, which saw the rate of insolvencies jump from 3.5 per 1,000 businesses in 2016 to 4.2 in 2020, an increase of 18%.


Other service activities saw an increase of 6.1%, with the insolvency rate for accommodation and food service activities increasing by 2.1%.

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