Data from Bibby Financial Services’ (BFS) Q1 2024 SME Confidence Tracker reveals that ongoing interest rate levels and political uncertainty are holding back many businesses from investing in the long-term business growth the economy needs. UK corporate insolvency rates hit a 30-year high in 2023 as 25,158 businesses “fell foul of high costs and tough trading conditions.” According to BFS, 54% of UK SMEs have experienced at least one supplier becoming insolvent or ceasing trading over the past six months, and a similar number (51%) have experienced one or more customers ceasing to trade in the same time frame. Cashflow is also being impacted by customers failing to pay invoices on time, or at all – 68% say it’s taking longer for customers to pay invoices in full compared with a year ago. Meanwhile, 30% suffered a bad debt due to customer non-payment over the past 12 months, having to write-off £17,500 on average during this period. To read the full report, go to