The number of companies falling into insolvency in Scotland fell to an eight-year low last year according to new research by KPMG.

The report found 832 companies went into administration or liquidation in 2017. The total was the lowest since 2008, when 803 firms entered insolvency.

The insolvency figures were 15 per cent lower than in 2016, when 984 firms went under. However, insolvencies rose 14 per cent annually in the final quarter, to 251 from 221.

Failure rates increased amid the downturn in the oil and gas industry triggered by the sharp fall in the crude price since 2014.

Blair Nimmo, Global Head of Restructuring at KPMG, said “It is encouraging to see the number of business failures falling to what are relatively normal attrition rates in 2017. A continuing uncertain political and economic climate, whether in Scotland, or anywhere else in the UK, means businesses remain cautious, and I do not see this changing in the immediate future.”

“From a sector perspective, we continue to see retail grabbing most of the headlines across the UK and to a lesser extent in Scotland.”