Judgments against NI businesses fell by 24 per cent in first half of 2021

The Registry Trust said intervention of government and forbearance by creditors has protected businesses.

JUDGMENTS against Northern Ireland businesses fell by 24 per cent in the first half of 2021.

The Registry Trust said 269 orders were made against firms here in the first six months, compared with 353 in the same period last year.

The organisation said the decline reflected the financial protective measures put in the place during the pandemic.

The total value of business judgments similarly fell 21 per cent, from £1.2 million to £976,602.

Some 1,678 debt judgments were made against consumers over the same period, a drop of 12 per cent.

The average value of business judgments rose slightly from £3,521 to £3,630. But, the median value was 14 per cent higher, at £1,1605 compared to £1,020 in the same period last year. The Registry Trust said it suggested there were fewer smaller judgments pushing up the median value.

Trust chair Mick McAteer welcomed the falling number of judgments, but expressed concern for the long-term picture.

“This reflects the fact that judgment numbers were very high pre-Covid, and interventions by government and regulators, and forbearance by creditors have been protecting consumers.

“But, as these measures are being wound down, numbers appear to be trending upwards again suggesting the Covid economic crisis is far from over for financially vulnerable households,” he said.

Analysis by business recovery specialists Begbies Traynor this week suggested a significant increase in the number of Northern Ireland firms showing early signs of financial distress compared with last year.

The company’s Northern Ireland spokesperson, Lawrence O’Hara said: “We are worried that the true extent of financial problems being stored up by businesses here and across the rest of the UK, is actually much worse than the figures indicate.”

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