Dealing with debt

For businesses that are struggling with debt, there are various ways they can make themselves more resilient.

If your business is struggling to deal with its debt, there may be business finance or supportLink opens in a new window available to you. In these cases, it’s important to assess your financial situation and seek expert, independent advice.

Our debt management resources +

What level of debt is healthy for a business?

Taking on too much debt can restrict your company’s ability to operate flexibly, leaving you open to financial problems if revenues fall or interest rates rise.

10 practical steps to help resolve debt problems

Your business should be prepared to act quickly to resolve issues around debt. Find out 10 ways to tackle or restructure debt, or avoid it completely.

How to get free debt advice for your business

A useful list of resources for advice and guidance around business debt.

Consolidating and refinancing business debt

Knowing how to manage debt is a vital element of operating a business. Consolidation and refinancing are two separate approaches to restructuring your business’ debt.

Should your business consider private debt funding?

Learn more about private debt funding, an important source of finance for smaller businesses in the UK. Find suitable options for your business.

Managing bankruptcy

Without proper debt management, a business can more easily fail and force owners to declare bankruptcy. Read more about what it means to be made bankrupt and the options you have if the worst should happen. Find links to other useful support.

Dealing with tax arrears

Your business may be able to negotiate additional time to pay its tax debts with HM Revenue & Customs. Learn how to make these arrangements.

9 ways to improve your business credit score

Lenders use your business credit score to assess whether you'll pay bills on time. Learn more about how your business credit score works.

What you can do if you're owed money +

If your business has customers who are late with their payments, it isn’t alone! At the time of writing (October 2020), small firms across Britain were owed a total of £23.4bn in late invoices, according to the Small Business Commissioner (SBC), while one-third of payments to small businesses are late.

That’s little comfort when you’re suffering cashflow problems. But the good news is that you can contact the SBCLink opens in a new window for help with getting the issue resolved.

The SBC:

  • considers complaints from small businesses (that is, businesses with fewer than 50 staff) about payment problems they are encountering with their larger business customers (those with more than 50 employees)
  • makes non-binding recommendations on how the parties should resolve their disputes

It won’t get involved if litigation is underway between the parties.

The SBC also has advice on what you can do to get invoices paid on time.Link opens in a new window

And when a person or business owes you money, you have a number of other options. Visit the GOV.UK websiteLink opens in a new window for further information.

Improving your cashflow +

There are practical measures you can take to try to improve your cashflow, which should help you deal with your debts.

Additional support +

Small Business Commissioner (SBC) Link opens in a new window

The SBC is an independent public body the Government created to tackle late payment and unfavourable payment practices in the UK's private sector.

Business Debtline Link opens in a new window

A charity that gives businesses free and independent advice on dealing with debt.

UK Finance Link opens in a new window

Guidance and advice on dealing with debt, from the organisation that represents the UK's banking and finance industry.

Advice NI – Business Debt Service Link opens in a new window

Free tailored, independent and impartial advice on debt for sole traders, partnerships and limited companies in Northern Ireland.

StepChange – debt charity Link opens in a new window

Debt advice for self-employed people and sole traders.

FSB Debt Recovery Link opens in a new window

A debt recovery service for members of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). Find out what the service offers and what membership entails.

Regional support

Enter your postcode to find business support and case studies from businesses within your region. You'll be taken to our interactive map.

Reference to any organisation, business and event on this page does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation from the British Business Bank or the UK Government. Whilst we make reasonable efforts to keep the information on this page up to date, we do not guarantee or warrant (implied or otherwise) that it is current, accurate or complete. The information is intended for general information purposes only and does not take into account your personal situation, nor does it constitute legal, financial, tax or other professional advice. You should always consider whether the information is applicable to your particular circumstances and, where appropriate, seek professional or specialist advice or support.