Bankruptcies worst in the UK’s steel towns – what will be the impact of British Steel?

Publications that covered this story include: CityAM and Reuters.
  • Steel towns of Stockton-on-Tees, Torfaen and Neath Port Talbot the top 3 worst-hit areas for five-year increases in personal insolvencies

The Top 3 worst areas (out of 174) in the UK for increasing rates of personal insolvencies* over the last five years were all steel towns. With British Steel on the verge of administration, there are concerns over what impact this will have on the last remaining steel towns, our research shows.

Stockton-on-Tees, Torfaen and Neath Port Talbot saw the biggest increases in personal insolvencies in the UK, rising 25%, 22% and 21% respectively over the five years to 2017.

The steel industry has already seen considerable job losses which led to an increase in insolvency rates among ex-steel workers, which is likely to be compounded by British Steel. The steelworks in areas such as Teesside and Port Talbot have traditionally been the biggest employers for the surrounding towns and villages.

The whole local supply chain is likely to be affected by the financial difficulties at a steel works, both upstream and downstream of the steel mills themselves.

British Steel, the second-largest steel manufacturer in Britain, will go into administration if it fails to secure an emergency government loan. British Steel struggled with slowing demand from Europe due to protracted Brexit negotiations.

Peter Kubik, partner in our London office, says: “The knock-on effects of the ongoing steel crisis have created pockets of poverty in areas that have traditionally been reliant on the steelworks for employment.”

“The impact of British Steel’s administration will be particularly marked in the small steel towns that have already suffered from heightened levels of insolvency.”

Top 3 steel towns worst hit by personal insolvencies – rates per 10,000 adult population


*Rates per 10,000 adult population