FOI Ref: FOI/2021/3183

You asked

​Please supply how many businesses have either went bankrupt or permanently closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Any other statistic that is closely related to this would be greatly appreciated also.

We said

Thank you for your freedom of information request about how many businesses either became bankrupt or permanently closed during the covid-19 pandemic.

ONS measures business deaths via its Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR). This is a database of all businesses in the UK registered for registered for VAT and/or the PAYE income tax system. There are approximately 2.8 million business on the IDBR.  Business deaths are businesses which have ceased to trade and have been identified as such usually through de-registration of their administration units (VAT and/or PAYE).

ONS publishes information on business births and deaths through its business demography outputs. There is an annual release and a more recently launched quarterly release of experimental statistics on business demography. Since you are interested in business deaths since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic it is more useful to point you to the quarterly experimental figures. By labelling the figures as experimental we are saying that they are relatively new and are still subject to testing in terms of their volatility and ability to meet customer needs.

Here is a link to the latest available figures:

Experimental business demography, quarter three (July to September) 2021

The release provides quarterly business births and deaths broken down by region and broad industrial group.

For ease of reference, quarterly business deaths for the UK since the start of 2020 are provided below.

2020 Q1                102,275

2020 Q2                  73,580

2020 Q3                  67,040

2020 Q4                  89,725

2021 Q1                111,145

2021 Q2                105,455

2021 Q3                100,835

If you require further information, please contact our data service team at