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Last Updated: Friday, 16 February 2007, 08:42 GMT
The UK's debt footprint
Maps of bankruptcies, IVAs and financial stress

OVERVIEW

BORROWING AND DEBT

The number of people unable to repay their debts hit a record high last year, as over 100,000 people went bust.

The maps above show the main areas where people are struggling to make ends meet, and where financial stresses and strains may take their toll in the future.

BANKRUPTS

FULL BANKRUPTCY RANKINGS
Ratings are based on per capita bankruptcy in towns across the UK
Source: Experian
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Declaring bankruptcy is a major step, and is often seen as a last resort taken by those who can no longer repay their debts. It is likely to mean the loss of all an individual's major assets.

Glancing over the top 10 rankings for bankruptcy, it's impossible not to notice that the clear majority of towns hail from the south west of England.

Explanations for this vary, but the high number of seasonal businesses and sole traders in the region is likely to affect the overall figures.

Bankruptcy is lowest in Northern Ireland.

INDIVIDUAL VOLUNTARY ARRANGEMENTS

FULL IVA RANKINGS
Ratings are based on per capita IVAs in towns
IVAs do not apply in Scotland
Source: Experian
Most computers will open PDF documents automatically, but you may need to download Adobe Reader.

Individual Voluntary Arrangements or IVAs are another form of insolvency.

The numbers of IVAs have grown so much in recent years, that they are approaching parity with bankruptcies. But setting up an IVA with creditors is not an easy option and can affect your credit report for six years, and may make it hard to gain credit in the future.

The map above shows the M4 corridor as being a particular hotspot for IVAs. Consumer groups have suggested targeted advertising of IVAs in that area may be a factor.

FINANCIAL STRESS

FULL STRESS RANKINGS
Source: Experian
Most computers will open PDF documents automatically, but you may need to download Adobe Reader.

Financial stress is a measure used by the credit agency Experian to define an individual's "potential to become over-stretched and struggle with further payments". Areas with high levels of stress include major urban centres such as Glasgow, Liverpool and Nottingham, with Manchester standing out at the top of the list.

Potential financial trouble spots are pinpointed by Experian after an analysis of the number of credit cards and personal loans that people take out, as well how regularly payments are made on their debt.

Information from Mori's Financial Services Survey was also studied, alongside publicly available information on bad debts and County Court Judgements.




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