Around 150,000 UK companies were in financial distress in the last quarter of 2010, with trade creditors increasingly looking to recover debts, a new report has found. The latest Red Flag Alert from administrators Begbies Traynor warns that 147,836 UK companies were experiencing “significant” or “critical” financial pressures in the final months of 2010. This is a 4% climb on the third quarter. The 3,018 companies experiencing “critical” financial problems owe £52.7bn to creditors, suppliers and service providers, which compares to £57.5bn owed by 2,943 companies in the third quarter of 2010. Ric Traynor, executive chairman of Begbies Traynor, said: “Today’s figures show that UK businesses are demonstrating real signs of distress and that trade creditors are both losing patience with their debtors and in need of collecting cash into their own businesses. “Coming against a backdrop of the largest decline in house prices for a year, higher inflation, an accelerated decline in business confidence, and higher unemployment forecasted for 2011, these figures indicate the renewed challenges facing businesses across most industries in 2011, particularly in the SME sector.” The findings come after official data released yesterday revealed that the UK economy had ground to a halt in the final months of 2010. A separate report from Experian found that despite the overall UK business insolvency rate falling last year, hotel and leisure insolvencies had remained stubbornly high with 1,428 going to the wall in 2010.