There has been an alarming increase in cashflow difficulties faced by UK businesses during the past year, exceeding levels last seen during the recession. In 2015, 56% of County Court Claims to recover debt, resulted in a County Court Judgment (CCJ) because the debtor was unable to pay. This is the highest level seen in over 6 years. The findings underline warnings from George Osborne that 2016 has opened with a “dangerous cocktail of new threats”and support recent reports of a downturn in business confidence.
We have seen a similar pattern in our own debt recovery activity. The number of cases where the Claim has converted to a County Court Judgment was 44% in 2015, up from 38% in 2014. There have been various warnings about the state of the UK economy; with some saying it may be the toughest year for the global economy since the financial crisis. Our own figures show the percentage of Claims to CCJ conversion increased by 6%, from 2014 to 2015 – this is quite a year on year jump.
It is a concern that the conversion reported by the Civil Justice is even higher than during the recession, a strong indication that UK businesses are under increasing financial pressure - both those acting to recover debts and those issued with CCJs. We would therefore urge businesses to be vigilant and act quickly if payment from customers is late, or customers who usually pay promptly are starting to drag their feet. It could be a sign that they are facing financial difficulties and by acting promptly and getting ahead of other potential creditors.