Fall in insolvencies

The number of people declared insolvent has fallen for the second quarter in a row, according to figures released yesterday.Statistics from the Insolvency Service showed that 26,956 people in England and Wales were declared bankrupt or took out individual voluntary arrangements (Ivas) during the three months to the end of June - 8pc less than during the previous three months.

The number of people declared insolvent has fallen for the second quarter in a row, according to figures released yesterday.

Statistics from the Insolvency Service showed that 26,956 people in England and Wales were declared bankrupt or took out individual voluntary arrangements (Ivas) during the three months to the end of June - 8pc less than during the previous three months.

But experts last night predicted that the number of people in trouble was likely to rise again before too long.

In the three months to June, 26,956 people were declared bankrupt - 3pc below the figure for the first three months of the year - while Ivas were down by 15pc at 10,698.

The Insolvency Service had previously shown that a record 30,075 people were declared insolvent during the three months to the end of March. But revised figures issued yesterday put the figure at 29,338, compared with 29,715 during the final quarter of last year.

The drop in the number of insolvencies for both quarters came as a surprise to some commentators, with most having predicted a new record would be set in the most recent quarter. However, analysts had anticipated there would be a fall in the number of people taking out Ivas following dissatisfaction among creditors with the arrangements.

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Nigel De'Ath, of the East Anglia division of PricewaterhouseCooper's business recovery services, said: “There remains pressure on household incomes, owing to rising interest rates, higher utility bills and tightened lending criteria across the market.

“The area to watch now is credit-card debt as people may turn to credit-card lending to meet the shortfall between income and expenditure.”

Chris Williams, a partner at Norwich-based insolvency practioner McTear, Williams & Wood, said: “It is a surprise to see the level fall. I believe there will be a lot more insolvencies in the months ahead because all the indications are that levels of personal debt are still extremely high.”

Mike Gerrard, head of personal insolvency at Grant Thornton, was another expert who warned that the respite was probably only temporary.

“It may look as if personal insolvencies have finally reached a plateau. However, evidence points to a peak still being some way off,” he said.

“The existing mountain of debt still stands, consumer spending remains unabated and there is a strong likelihood of more interest rate

rises.”

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