§ Mr. Loughton
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many companies have gone out of business since May 1997. 
§ Ms Hewitt
[holding answer 22 November 1999]There are no official statistics on the number of business closures. Collating them would impose too great a burden on business. Quarterly estimates from Barclays Bank show that there were 922,000 business closures in England and Wales in the 27 months between April 1997164W and June 1999. This is the lowest total of any such period since 1990, and 26 per cent. lower than when closures peaked in the early 1990s.
Other indicators confirm that business closures are lower than in previous years. There have been 97,700 company and individual insolvencies in England and Wales since April 1997, 32 per cent. fewer than when insolvencies peaked in the early 1990s. There were 155,900 VAT de-registrations in the UK in 1998, a fall of 5 per cent. on 1997 and the lowest total for five years.