Insolvencies across the wider economy, including other sectors such as construction and manufacturing, were down 3% on the previous year.
This adds weight to suggestions that recent official figures showing that gross domestic product (GDP) declined 0.7% in the quarter may be overestimating the severity of the double-dip recession.
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Half of those killed or maimed in the last 72 hours of intense bombardments in Aleppo have been children.
Astronomers said: "Europa’s ocean is considered to be one of the most promising places that could potentially harbor life".
The rain will ease in the west tonight, but the cloud cover will remain across much of England, Wales and N. Ireland.