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Sunday, April 5, 2009

35,000 UK firms to go bankrupt in 2009

Sun, 05 Apr 2009 05:28:54 GMT | PressTV

At least 35,000 firms and 125,000 people are expected to go bankrupt in Britain this year, an insolvency expert group has predicted.

Begbies Traynor, a UK-based Corporate Rescue, Restructuring and Personal Insolvency company, has forecast that 35,000 firms -- 95 firms a day -- will go bankrupt this year, the Sunday Times reported.

Nick Hood at Begbies said the number could rise to 40,000 by the end of the year.

"The rate is accelerating - on a bad day we could see 20 businesses going under a day," he told the paper.

The figure would be 18 percent higher than the previous peak during the 1991 recession in Britain.

"It feels much worse than the 1990s - there are much fewer options to rescue businesses today. In the past you could go to another bank or small-business owners could re-mortgage and use equity from their homes - today that is next to impossible," Hood added.

British Finance Minister Alistair Darling told the Sunday Times that the UK was far deeper in recession than the government expected and that the country was unlikely to return to economic growth until the end of the year.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted in January that British gross domestic product (GDP) will contract 2.8 percent in 2009.

Begbies also predicted that as many as 125,000 people will also go bankrupt in 2009 -- equivalent to 342 people a day. The figure amounts to the highest number of personal bankruptcies since 2006, when 107,000 people went bankrupt.

Consultancy firm Hay Group also predicted on Sunday that more than 600,000 people will lose their jobs in Britain this year.

Based on a survey of 140 of the top 1,000 firms, the group said nine in ten firms plan operational cuts in 2009-10 and that a fifth of the companies plan a big restructuring of their businesses in response to the recession.

Unemployment in the UK rose to above two million in the three months ending January for the first time since 1997 as a result of the global financial crisis taking its toll on the country's economy.

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