The number of business insolvencies has dropped in the West Midlands, latest monthly figures show.

Just 125 firms went bust in Birmingham and the Black Country during April compared to 144 in the corresponding month in 2012.

In total there were 1,714 bankruptcies in the UK during April - a monthly rise of 150 mainly accounted for by an increased number of cases reported in London.

The figures show a steady improvement over the past two years, with the average insolvency rate over the last 12 months standing at 0.08 per cent, compared to 0.09 per cent for the year to April before that.

Max Firth, managing director, Experian Business Information Services, said: “We’ve seen that the insolvency rate has been decreasing for some time, but the fact that it is staying low is encouraging news.

“It’s particularly pleasing to see that companies at both ends of the supply chain are improving all the time.

“Small companies make up the lifeblood of the British economy, so it is good to see that they have relatively low insolvency rates. And at the larger end of the scale, the big firms have a significant effect on the whole supply chain, so to see fewer failures is promising,” he added.

Businesses in Scotland have the lowest rate of insolvency – now standing at an all-time low rate of 0.03 per cent.

Of the UK’s top five biggest industries, building and construction and leisure and hotels fell by 0.01 per cent compared to April last year. Other industries that have seen falls compared to April 2012 include both the food and non-food retail sectors.