UK business has £4.7bn in hidden debt

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13% of these businesses still had debts greater than their assets

None of us like debt so it came as quite a shock to me that an estimated £4.7 billion in unpaid debt is left behind by closed down businesses in the UK each year. A recent analysis of firms that had either shut down voluntarily or who were struck off the Companies House Register since 2000 shows that 13% of these businesses still had debts greater than their assets.

The problem seems to be that many smaller independent businesses which closed down voluntarily due to issues such as retirement did so without settling their debts or informing creditors. Whilst many may not have had excessive debts, the issue has been aggravated by the increasing number of businesses taking this route. In 2011 alone, 300,000 businesses closed voluntarily and 36,000 had debts which combined to a total in excess of £5.9bn.

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