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12May94 UK: COMPANY FAILURES DOWN 17 PC.

Construction company failures fell by 17 per cent last year, according to official figures published by the British Chambers of Commerce.The raging recession in 1992 swept away 3,830 construction firms, but last year the number fell to 3,189.This is still almost double the failure rate in 1989.But the latest survey by accountant Touche Ross suggests that so far this year the threat of closure of construction firms has further receded.Its running survey of receivership and administration appointments advertised in the London and Edinburgh Gazettes for this year up to April picked up 126 construction firms. In the same period last year there were 308 and in 1992, 346.Richard Brown, BCC's deputy director general, said: 'Company insolvencies are now at their lowest level since the end of 1990. Proof positive that the recovery continues.'The BCC figures show that, while there is a clear sign of improvement among firms, the self-employed are still being forced into bankruptcy in huge numbers.Last year there were 4,361 bankruptcies among the construction industry's army of self-employed. This was down 7 per cent on 1992 and the bankruptcy rate is still running at nearly three times the level of 1989. CONSTRUCTION NEWS