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Last Updated: Friday, 2 November 2007, 10:54 GMT
Fresh fall in insolvency numbers
Man with empty pocket
Fewer people are going bust, official statistics show
The number of people being declared insolvent in England and Wales fell again in the third quarter of the year.

The number of individual insolvencies dropped by 3% to 26,072 from the previous three months and was 5% down on last year.

Bankruptcies fell by 2.1% to 15,833, while Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) went down by 4.3% to 10,239

The number of home repossession orders made by courts in England and Wales also fell by 1% in the third quarter.

In the past three months the total dropped to 23,806.

Consumer borrowing

This is the third quarter in a row that the number of people going bust has fallen, and the first time in five years that there has been a year-on-year decrease.

Pat Boyden of accountants PricewaterhouseCoopers said this drop reflected the fact that borrowing on credit cards has been tailing off.

"There has been a fall for the last couple of years, so the insolvency figures have levelled off," he said.

Although bankruptcy levels are still 2.2% higher than a year ago, IVAs are now running 14% lower than at the same stage in 2006.

Lee Manning, an insolvency expert at accountancy firm Deloitte, said that was because firms which specialise in setting up IVAs were having to become more circumspect.

"There has been considerable pressure on IVA specialists to be more fussy about the cases they take on," he said.

"There have been examples of proposed IVAs that were inappropriate and for which the fees were too high."


Despite the fall in the number of repossession orders that lenders have gained in the courts - the first stage in the repossession process - there have been warnings this week that actual repossessions will rise by about 50% next year.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders predicted that repossessions could rise to 45,000 by the end of 2008, with the number of mortgages more than three months in arrears also going up, by 17% to 170,000.

It said this would be due to homeowners finding it impossible to keep up with rising mortgage payments.

Mark Sands, from accountancy firm KPMG, said this in turn would drive up the personal insolvency figures.

"They are both driven by the same factors; the ability to refinance and the pressures on household budgets," he said.

"We expect long term that they will go up hand-in-hand with repossessions next year."

A family tell of their struggle to repay debts

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