Up to 1000 companies will go bust and 12,000 Scots will be made bankrupt in the coming year, according to a leading Scottish insolvency practitioner.


Bryan Jackson of accountancy and business advisory firm BDO LLP said this amounted to around 20 companies and 230 Scots a week going bust.

Despite evidence of an economic recovery in the last year, any improvement has been inconsistent, with consumer demand cooling and market uncertainty at home and abroad, he said. Potential for interest rate rises is also causing concern, against a background of many households facing higher costs and frozen wages.

Major ongoing public sector cutbacks could also hit Scotland hard as it has a higher percentage of people working for local authorities, said Mr Jackson, business restructuring partner with BDO LLP.

"While 2014 has seen an improvement in the economy, there are some indicators that it remains relatively moribund, despite positive such as a low oil price and decreasing unemployment levels," he said. "This means that for many companies and individuals, there is the prospect of another year of standing still as profits remain flat and incomes are static."

He said the finances of many individuals and businesses remains fragile so that any shock could have serious consequences.

"The number of businesses falling into insolvency is likely to be around 1,000," he said. "It is of concern that even six years after the start of the recession there are still so many firms going bust."

While there has been a steady reduction in the number of Scots being made bankrupt since 2009 when 23,542 were made bankrupt, figures rose in the third quarter, Mr Jackson said. "There is every likelihood that personal insolvencies will remain around the 12,000 mark in the near future, which only in 2005 would have been a record figure in Scotland. There is concern that we may be celebrating a reduction in personal insolvency despite these numbers being very high in an historic context."

Falling oil prices were producing anxiety in Aberdeen, he added.

Colin Borland, spokesman for the Federation of Small Businesses in Scotland, said: "Our members are certainly looking at a tough first quarter but the longer term prospects seem to be quite good."

Indicators such as firms' intentions to pursue capital investments are stronger than at this time last year, he said and suggested trading would be better later in the year.

"Consumer confidence seems to have taken a bit of a hit at the moment, which has a knock on effect on business confidence and we'll need to keep a close eye on that," Mr Borland added. "But we are not going into 2015 with a heavy heart."