THE New Year has ushered in mixed news for those businesses across Yorkshire and the North East struggling to overcome financial difficulties as they head into 2020.

After a year hallmarked by a triple whammy of Brexit, political uncertainty and financial turbulence, the very latest insolvency research has unwrapped what’s best described as “a curate’s egg” – good in parts.

On an upbeat note, and with 2020 vision of a different kind, Yorkshire and North East insolvency analysts say that the number of businesses at risk of becoming insolvent is falling.

Consumer-facing sectors, including tourism operators and hotels, have been singled out as being among the most resilient in the face of insolvency.

However, the insolvency and restructuring trade body R3, which carried out the analysis, is guarded against too much optimism – and said caution must be the watchword for directors when making their New Year resolutions.

The insolvency experts warned businesses in Yorkshire and the North East: “Britain’s exit from the EU is destined to be a lengthy process and there are likely to be further bumps along the way.

“With the latest Government data showing that from August to October, the economy suffered its weakest three months since 2009, directors would be wise to adopt a cautious approach – and seek professional advice at the first signs of financial trouble.”

However, on the flipside, more insolvency warning bells have been sounded for the future of the High Street across Yorkshire and the North East.

Insolvency pressures on retailers in Yorkshire and the North East are expected to continue into 2020 as consumers shift further towards online shopping, and business rates increase.

Some 8,000 stores and 85,000 jobs were axed in 2019 as retailers battled with insolvency challenges, and fears are growing that the casualty toll will continue at the same pace during the next 12 months.

And Yorkshire and the North East stores are among the hardest hit – with the Yorkshire Post reporting the region is being out-performed by the rest of the country on both the number of empty shops and visitor rates.

On average 12.5 per cent of shops in the North East and Yorkshire have been vacant since 2011, compared with ten per cent in the UK as a whole, while footfall has also been dropping at a steeper rate.

Insolvency research reveals some stark differences across the Yorkshire and North East region.

Successful cities like York and Leeds have vacancy rates of 6.2 per cent and nine per cent respectively, while in Harrogate the rate is just under 10 per cent and 13 per cent of shops lay empty in insolvency-hit Hull.

And fears of more insolvencies have risen after analysts revealed that footfall during the Boxing Day sales dropped by 10.6 per cent, as a result of rainy weather and early discounting

Insolvency experts are now turning their eyes on the Budget, expected to take place in February, for new initiatives to support businesses; as well as Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s promise to launch a “fundamental review” on the current business rates system in spring 2020.

Here at Walsh Taylor, when financial difficulties arise, we’ll put time on your side.

For more information on how our licensed insolvency practitioners and business recovery teams in Leeds, Bradford, Harrogate and Darlington can help you, please call us on 03300 244 660 or email confidential@walshtaylor.co.uk

Mary Taylor
Director

Mary began working in insolvency for a national accountancy practice in Glasgow thirty years ago and worked in most divisions of the insolvency department.

She then moved to a smaller firm so she could advance her knowledge on a more hands on basis. She moved back to Leeds in 1987 and commenced working with a small firm of accountants and subsequently made partner.

She left in 1999 to set up her own practice, McCann Taylor.
McCann Taylor became involved with the consumer market both in England and Scotland.

Mary sold McCann Taylor in March 2007 and formed Walsh Taylor to concentrate on helping businesses experiencing financial difficulties.

Meg Heath
Director

Meg has a background in supporting SMEs, including the raising of finance and advising on organisational change. She is a non-executive director of companies in the private and third sector, including Walsh Taylor.

Previously she was Deputy Fund Director of one of the largest CDFIs in the UK, and has experience of the social enterprise, charity and private sectors. Her experience of assisting companies to survive and thrive has been gained across a broad range of sectors and in companies of all sizes.

In addition to her work at Walsh Taylor she works for other private companies, including non-executive and trustee positions.

Emma Mifsud
Insolvency Practitioner

After graduating from Leeds University in 2005 with a BA Hons degree in Criminology, Emma worked for a regional law firm in both the property department and insolvency and banking department. Whilst doing so Emma gained a Graduate Diploma in Law at BPP University.

Emma then joined a national accountancy firm in 2009 gaining experience in personal insolvency before moving to a Leeds based firm. At this firm Emma specialised in bankruptcies, IVA’s and negotiating informal agreements with creditors. In 2013 Emma gained her CPI qualification.

Since joining the firm in December 2013, Emma has taken on a portfolio of personal and corporate insolvency cases to extend her knowledge and expertise in all areas of insolvency.

In December 2017 Emma become a licensed appointment taker under the Insolvency Practitioners Association, she is JIEB qualified.

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