Hundreds of companies in Swindon are in serious financial distress.

Consultant firm Begbies Traynor released its latest ‘Red Flag Alert' figures which monitor the financial health of companies in the UK.

Rising interest rates, debt, low consumer confidence, high energy costs, and economic uncertainty are putting pressure on businesses across the region, with 758 reportedly at risk of economic failure.

This represents a 12 per cent increase compared to the amount recorded three months ago and is 11 per cent higher than last November.

The construction, telecommunications and IT industries are being hit particularly hard.

Begbies Traynor's Swindon partner Julie Palmer said: “This highlights how the debt storm, which has been brewing for years but had been held off by measures to provide breathing space for companies, is likely to break.

“Businesses that had loaded up on debt at rock-bottom rates, and could only cling on during the pandemic thanks to government support, must now deal with a reality check as higher interest rates hit working capital.

“Taken with high inflation and weak consumer confidence, many businesses will head towards failure.

“While stabilising inflation and interest rates could start to slow the rising levels of distress in the economy, this will take time, and insolvencies often peak long after a recovery has started.

"Unfortunately for many businesses, time is not on their side.”