FOI 112 – Coronavirus Bounce Back Loans and Insolvent Businesses

Our ref: FOI21/22-112

Date: December 16, 2021

Dear

Subject: Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request

Thank you for your email of November 18 in which you asked the Insolvency Department:

  • Since May 2020, how many companies that have taken out a Bounce Back Loan have been declared insolvent?

  • what is the total value of these BBLs in circulation?

Your request has been processed under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

I can confirm that the agency has some of the information you requested. The following information is not retained:

  • Data on companies in Northern Ireland that have taken out a Bounce Back Loan Facility (BBL).
  • Data on companies that have entered into a Voluntary Company Agreement (CVA) that have subscribed to a BBL facility.
  • Data on the value of the current stock of BBLs.

Please note that the FOIA only applies to recorded information, it does not compel public authorities to answer a question unless recorded information exists. Therefore, to respond to a request, the FOIA does not require a public authority to create information if the requested information is not held.

From data held by the agency, I have identified approximately 9,733 businesses in England, Wales and Scotland that went bankrupt between May 1, 2020 and October 31, 2021 that had taken out a BBL facility . This includes companies that have entered into compulsory liquidation, voluntary liquidation of creditors, receivership and receivership.

Under section 16 of the Act (Advice and Assistance), you may find it useful to note:

The Insolvency Service (INSS) holds data on judicial liquidations from the internal administrative system of the INSS. Other business insolvency data held by the INSS and used to compile this response comes from the London Gazette and the Edinburgh Gazette. Details of a company entering a CVA are not publicly announced in The Gazette’s official public records, therefore CVA data is not sourced from this source. The INSS does not hold the information recorded in the Belfast Gazette and therefore does not hold data for Northern Ireland from this source.

Data held by INSS is regularly provided to the Cabinet Office (CO), which acts as data controller for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). The data is used for analytical purposes and to identify legal entities that have entered into formal insolvency proceedings with an ongoing bounce loan.

Results are shared with INSS to enable forecasting and planning against overall levels of insolvency in BBL’s loan portfolio for the purpose of allocating resources to administer business liquidations and manage investigations and the associated application. No data is exchanged on the value of outstanding loans. The last period of data exchanged covers the period up to October 31, 2021.

Note that the figure provided in this answer is considered an estimate, as some companies may have taken out a loan that did not match the loan data processed by CO. Additionally, 19 companies included in the figure provided matched company number but did not match company name. It is therefore possible that these companies did not subscribe to a BBL installation.

The INSS separately holds corporate insolvency data as filed with Companies House, including CVA cases. The INSS is not authorized to transmit this data to other government departments for processing, as it is only kept for statistical purposes. This data is used to compile the insolvency statistics published by the agency for all business insolvencies, with the exception of court-ordered liquidations which come from the internal administrative system of the insolvency service. The timelines for publication of Gazette notices and the registration of company insolvencies at Companies House may differ and therefore the number of insolvencies presented by each source for a specified period of time may not correspond.

The INSS does not routinely pull business insolvency data from The Gazette for Northern Ireland. Mandatory wind-up data for Northern Ireland is provided separately in aggregate form by the Department of the Economy and therefore cannot be matched against the BBL dataset either.

Outstanding loan data is held by lenders, transmitted to the British Business Bank and then shared with BEIS. This information is not shared with the INSS.

If you are not satisfied with the response we have provided to you and would like us to reconsider our decision through an internal review (IR), please contact our Information Rights Team at [email protected] .uk or by post to:

Information Rights Team

The insolvency service

3rd floor

cannon house

18 Queensway Priory

birmingham

B4 6FD

UK

You also have the right to contact the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) if you want them to investigate any complaints you may have about our handling of your request. However, please note that the ICO is likely to expect an IR to have been completed in the first place.

Cordially,

Information Rights Team

The insolvency service

The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Insolvency Administrators and Adjudicator are the controllers of personal data processed by the Insolvency Service. For full details of how personal data is handled by the agency, please see the full Insolvency Service Personal Information Charter here: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/insolvency-service /about/personal-information-charter

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