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Last Updated: Friday, 5 May 2006, 09:13 GMT 10:13 UK
Bankruptcies show dramatic rise
Empty pocket
More people are choosing to declare themselves bankrupt
More than 23,000 people became insolvent in England and Wales during the first three months of 2006 - 73% more than in the same period last year.

The figures from the government's Insolvency Service will add weight to the view that 2006 could see record levels of personal insolvency.

Experts have blamed the rise in insolvencies on greater personal debt and higher unemployment.

About two-thirds of people declared themselves bankrupt.

The remaining people took out Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) - an alternative to bankruptcy that allows debtors to come to an agreement with their creditors.

Meanwhile, seperate figures from the Department for Constitutional Affairs showed that the number of housholds in the early stages of having their home repossessed was at its highest level since 1992.

Culture problem

The number of companies going into liquidation also rose during the first quarter of 2006. In total, 3,439 firms went to the wall, representing an increase of 17% on the same period last year.

The level of personal and company insolvencies has been rising over the past two years.

According to Pat Boyden, a partner at accountancy firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers, said that consumers were paying for "spend now, worry later culture."

Mr Boyden added that personal insolvencies could "easily" surpass the 100,000 mark in 2006.

Hear from experts on the increase in young bankrupts

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