New Insights into Company Insolvency using open data

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Line graphs created by John Murray showing absolute vs relative company insolvency

John Murray, a visiting researcher and involved member of the Geographic Data Science Lab, has been improving the accuracy and completeness of Business Census data as CTO of Fusion Data Science. The Business Census, which is openly available from the CDRC, contains data regarding UK registered companies and their statuses since May 2012. This valuable data can help researchers, media and all interested parties discover and monitor UK economic and business trends and theorise what wider implications they may have.


As a result of changes in Companies House API rate limits, and thanks to John Murray’s perseverance and dedication, the CDRC has been able to update the Business Census dataset to include company dissolution events to the date. In addition, the dataset now holds information on over 7 million UK registered companies, and there are over 1 million more registered companies within the dataset now than when it was first available in May 2012.


Having open access to complete and reliable data gives everyone the ability to inform themselves and form their own opinions, despite how many situations are exaggerated in the media. Although the several media outlets have recently reported an increase in company insolvencies, for example The Times, Accountancy Daily and Business Up North. John has noted that, when taken as a percentage of the total active companies, this is not the case, as shown in the graphs at the top of this article. In fact, there is actually a slight decrease. The increase which has been reported by a variety of news outlets was a result of there being more active companies, many would say a positive for the country’s economy.


The GDSL would like to thank John for his continued and valuable contributions to our community and to the CDRC database, which is an important resource to our researchers here at the University of Liverpool and many researchers across the country.