Northern Ireland has third highest rise in debt repayment orders

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The number of County Court Judgments (CCJs) issued to UK businesses over the last three years has increased by 105%, with Northern Ireland reporting an increase of 112%.

Research by credit check specialist Creditsafe has highlighted that those in Northern Ireland saw the third highest increase in CCJs - with 293 in 2016-2017, rising to 622 in 2018-2019.

A CCJ is the action of the courts instructed by the creditor to get the money back to the person/company owed.

David Walters, head of data at Creditsafe, said: “The findings are damning and show that businesses across the country are struggling to keep up with repayments.

“Though we can’t say for sure, it’s likely that the volatility surrounding Brexit has had a negative effect, and that will continue until we know for sure what form Brexit is going to take.

“Of course, running a business is by no means easy, and especially not during a time of economic uncertainty, but being issued a CCJ will stay on your credit file for six years, which can be accessed by any member of the public for a small fee - they’ll be able to see your name, address, the case and court number and the amount of money owed. Having a CCJ on file will likely hinder any business as it will make it harder to take out further credit, and get out of financial difficulty.”

Marie Dancer, managing partner at Richard Nelson LLP, added: “As Creditsafe mention, we are in times of economic uncertainty. As a law firm, we have also been aware of the increased demand for commercial litigation services.

“But it does not make it any less surprising that businesses would take on services or goods that they could not pay for.

“Debt can affect the ongoing well-being of a business and the financial well-being of the business owners.

“This, in turn, can affect their productivity and business growth. CCJs are kept on businesses’ files for six years. We know that business disputes can be lengthy, and the longer they go on, the more it is likely to cost.”

Recent data released by Creditsafe also found an increase in the number of insolvencies across every UK region from May 2016 to April 2019. Northern Ireland saw the biggest rise with a 114% increase in the number of failing businesses in the area; East Anglia reported a rise of 62%.

West Midlands had the fewest insolvencies over the past three years, although the figure had still increased by 10%.

The percentage increases were as follows: Greater London, 151%; East Anglia, 121%; Northern Ireland, 112%; South East - 95%; North West, 93%; West Midlands, 91%; North East, 90%; Wales , 85%; South West, 85%; East Midlands, 80%; Yorkshire and Humberside, 69%; Scotland, 41%.

Established in 1997, Creditsafe, the global business intelligence experts, provides the latest business data that companies and lenders can use to make more informed decision making and mitigate risk when it comes to investment.

Creditsafe provides business intelligence on 320 million companies worldwide.

It has 16 offices across 14 countries including the UK, Germany, France, Norway, Sweden, Ireland, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, the USA and Japan, the business employs 1,500 people globally.