About 1,000 companies will go bust and 12,000 Scots will be made bankrupt in the coming year, a report has predicted.
Business advisers BDO said many companies had seen an economic improvement in the past year, but also warned that there were signs that the economy was stalling.
Cooling consumer demand, geopolitical and financial uncertainty and potential interest rate rises were cited as causes for concern.
Bryan Jackson, business restructuring partner with BDO, said: ‘For many companies and individuals there is the prospect of another year of standing still as profits remain flat and incomes are static. The slightest change in circumstances could have serious consequences. The number of businesses becoming insolvent could exceed 1,000′
“Many of these businesses may only be shell companies, but it is of concern that even six years after the start of the recession there are still so many firms going bust’ Mr Jackson went on to say that the number of Scots being made bankrupt had levelled off, following a steady reduction since the peak in 2009, when 23,541 were made bankrupt.
He added: ‘However, the third-quarter figure rose and 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’
The report came as the Scottish government launched a campaign to help people struggling with debt to access advice services that are available.
The Lighten the Load campaign raises awareness of the Scottish Financial Health Service website, which provides links to bodies offering information and advice on debt, managing money, housing, homelessness and ethical lending. The campaign includes a new television advertisement themed around how everyday tasks become more difficult when people are burdened with debt.
The Scottish Financial Health Service website was created by the Accountant in Bankruptcy and was launched by Business Minister Fergus Ewing in December.
Mr Ewing said: ‘January can be a difficult time for families when the bills associated with the festive period start to come in, but it can also be a time when people turn their attention to their finances for the year ahead. This campaign is intended to encourage people to access the full range of financial advice services available to help them manage their money in the months ahead’