Latest figures published today by the Bank of England show that the number of businesses failures by liquidation or bankruptcy grew by almost 20% between 1997 and 2002.
And the trend continues with an 11% rise in the last three quarters of 2003 over the same three quarters of 2002. Some regions suffer badly.
In the East Midlands business failures are up 30% between 1997-2002 and growingby 8.7% first three quarters 2003.
In the West Midlands business failures are up 40% between 1997-2002 and growing by 7.9% first three quarters 2003.
In the North-West business failures were up 34% between 1997-2002 and growing by1.8% first three quarters 2003.
And in North-East business failures were up between 46% 1997-2002 and growing 13.8% first three quarters 2003.
Brian Cotter MP, Liberal Democrat small business spokesman, says: “Small business are the life-blood of the economy. Many towns and villages rely on them completely for services and jobs.
“With bankruptcies up by one-fifth under Gordon Brown, business needs a break from the red tape and tax hurdles that are crushing their drive.
“The giant Whitehall machine is simply not delivering for businesses especially in northern, eastern and Midland regions where bankruptcy and liquidation figures are dreadfully high and getting worse.”