2016 saw thousands of jobs lost as firms fell into administration

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Thousands of British jobs have been lost this year as a string of struggling firms including BHS, Austin Reed and Lowcostholidays fell into administration.

The development raises questions over job security in the new year, with companies set to contend with weaker growth, rising inflation, and lower consumer spending once Brexit is officially triggered in the spring.

Retailer BHS was one of the most high-profile British businesses to collapse over the past 12 months, resulting in the loss of over 11,000 jobs when it fell into administration in April after former BHS owner Sir Philip Green sold it to serial bankrupt Dominic Chappell for £1 in 2015.

Two suppliers to the stricken retailer fell into administration just a month later. The closure of CUK Clothing and Courtaulds resulted in the loss of 350 jobs.

BHS International has since relaunched online with 84 employees in tow, while the rest of the high street business went into liquidation in December.

Menswear retailer Austin Reed, meanwhile, is set to return to the high street after it was forced to shut 120 stores this summer, resulting in the loss of 1,000 jobs.

Edinburgh Woollen Mill Group, which bought the 116-year-old chain's brand and five concessions from administrators in May, revealed an ambitious £100 million revival plan to relaunch Austin Reed near the end of 2017.

The news for My Local has not been as bright.

The convenience store was sold to Greybull Capital last year by supermarket Morrisons and had struggled to compete in the cut-throat grocery sector, which has been embroiled in a bitter price war.

Ninety-three of the retailer's 125 stores were immediately closed, putting more than 1,000 people out of work. 

About 379 people lost jobs at Ed's Easy Diner after being sold as part of a pre-package administration sale to Giraffe Concepts, which is owned by the restaurant arm of food mogul Ranjit Boparan.

A total of 26 of its 59 restaurants were closed with immediate effect in October, including those in Leicester, Reading, Wandsworth, Banbury, Blackpool and Derby.

Around 300 jobs were put at risk in November when kitchen and bedroom furniture chain Betta Living finally succumbed to financial woes in November after struggling with the costs of rapid expansion in recent years.

Manchester-based heavy machinery firm Hewden fell into administration last month just weeks after warning that Brexit was hitting business. While 133 jobs were saved after rival Ashtead snapped up part of the business for £29 million, 251 positions were slashed. 

A survey released by FRP Advisory in October found that the pace at which companies are entering into administration is increasing, with 3.5% more companies collapsing in the third quarter than the previous three months.

Glyn Mummery, a partner at business advisory firm FRP Advisory, said: "Overall, corporate insolvencies remain still at historic lows but the bottom now seems to have been reached after six months of rising corporate insolvency figures led by administrations, pointing to tougher times starting for some sectors of the economy."

Consumers were also hit by the wave of shutdowns this year, including GB Energy and Lowcostholidays.

Budget supplier GB Energy went bust last month, citing higher wholesale energy prices.

Now 160,000 of GB Energy customers could end up with higher bills unless they specifically ask to be put on the cheapest deal once they are transferred to a new supplier, energy watchdog Ofgem said.

Travellers were left out of pocket following the collapse of Lowcostholidays in July, leaving 27,000 customers abroad, and 110,000 with unfilled future bookings.

It was not registered with the UK Government-backed Atol scheme, which would have compensated customers in full, but instead had a bond in place that would have been enough to pay out just a few pounds to each customer.