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Firms (Receivership)

Volume 33: debated on Monday 6 December 1982

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8.

asked the Minister for Trade what has been the change in the number of firms placed in receivership between the periods January to September 1981 and January to September 1982.

The appointment of 1,288 receivers was recorded during the first nine months of 1981. The comparable number in 1982 was 2,225.

Why is the number of firms going into receivership this year nearly double that of last year? Will the Minister confirm that so far this year about seven firms a day have gone into receivership? Does he agree that the only businesses that appear to be booming in Great Britain today are those dealing with insolvency?

I do not accept everything that the hon. Gentleman says. This is a complicated matter. Since the beginning of 1979, 266,000 new companies have been registered, including 68,000 this year.

Is not one of the reasons for so many companies going into receivership or liquidation the delay in the notification of information about companies to Companies House? Will the Minister do what he refused to do last Thursday and tell the House whether the Government are complying with the first and fourth directives of the European Community on the harmonisation of company law?

I do not accept what the hon. Gentleman has said. During the debate I said that I would look at the point that he made, but I did not think it was relevant.

The figures quoted by the Minister show an increase of 166 per cent. in liquidations. As the Government conducted their election campaign on the basis of giving a better deal to small companies, do they still hold the view that Governments are largely responsible for the climate in which small companies operate? Is the hon. Gentleman not troubled by the ever-escalating score of heartbreaks and lost jobs, or is it another matter on which the Government have given up trying?

The right hon. and learned Gentleman knows that we are taking steps to improve the economy. The dramatic fall in inflation and the fall in interest rates will be of help to everybody. There are many new companies starting every day.