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Figures from the Insolvency Service show a big jump in the number of English and Welsh firms going into either compulsory or voluntary liquidation.

Compulsory liquidation and creditors' voluntary agreements hit 4,941 firms in the first quarter of 2009, up 56 per cent on the same three months of 2008.

316 companies went into receivership, up 98 per cent on the first quarter of 2008. 1,311 firms went into administration, up 52.6 per cent.

Company voluntary arrangements were up a modest 11.4 per cent to 156 firms. This equates to one in 130 firms going bust in the first quarter, versus one in 150 in the last quarter of 2008.

Figures for Scotland are collected separately because of its different legal system. 161 Scottish firms went into liquidation in the first quarter of 2009, up 57.8 per cent on last year. There was a huge jump in creditors voluntary agreements to 37 compared to just 7 in the first quarter of 2008.

Some 5,693 Scottish individuals were declared insolvent, up 71.3 per cent on the first three months of 2008.

Individual insolvencies are up 19 per cent on last year - 29,774 people were declared bankrupt or entered Individual Voluntary Arrangements in the first three months of 2009.

Northern Ireland saw 57 company liquidations, up 35.7 per cent, and 458 individuals, up 38.8 per cent.

More figures here. ®

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