Page last updated at 11:23 GMT, Saturday, 2 January 2010

Bankruptcy rates in 2010 could reach 24,000

Cut up credit cards
PKF said the impact of the recession would lead to more bankrupcies

Hundreds of people in Scotland will go bankrupt each week this year, business experts have predicted.

Accountants and business advisers PKF said that about 24,000 would be declared insolvent in 2010.

A similar number of people were made bankrupt in 2009. It is almost double the number of bankruptcies in 2007, when 13,814 people were affected.

PKF warned the pattern was likely to continue for many years as the long term impact of the recession is felt.

Bryan Jackson, corporate recovery partner with PKF, said: "These figures continue to reveal the after-effect of Scots' love affair with debt over the last decade.

"Given that Scottish personal insolvency currently runs at twice the rate of England and Wales it is clear that the situation is going to continue to be problematic for many people in the coming year.

"Whilst there are signs that the overall bankruptcy numbers are flattening out at around 24,000 people per year this is an astonishing level of personal insolvency which is almost double the level experienced as recently as 2007 in Scotland.

Bryan Jackson
The sad news is that this is a pattern which is likely to be repeated, not just in 2010, but for many years
Bryan Jackson

"Some may argue that this is due to the easing of the process of insolvency but this still indicates a very high level of personal indebtedness which new methods only highlight rather than explain."

PKF predicted that 460 Scots each week will go bankrupt this year.

In the first three quarters of 2009 there were 17,754 Scots made bankrupt, higher than any previous four quarters, aside from 2008 when 19,912 Scots were made bankrupt.

In the three weeks before Christmas 2009, 2,212 were declared insolvent.

This included 639 people who took out protected trust deeds, where a trustee is appointed to liaise with creditors and arrange debt repayment.

Rates rise

The figures were taken from the Edinburgh Gazette, the official journal of insolvency where all personal bankruptcies must be listed.

PKF warned of further financial strain in the year ahead, with unemployment and interest rates expected to rise.

Mr Jackson said this was likely to plunge many homeowners into serious financial difficulties which they might only have been avoiding temporarily due to reduced mortgage costs.

And with the relatively stagnant housing market many, who would previously have used the rising equity in their properties to clear their unsecured debts, may now find themselves without that safety net, he warned.

He said: "The sad news is that this is a pattern which is likely to be repeated, not just in 2010, but for many years to come as the long term impact of the recession and the credit boom continue to be felt by individuals many years after initially incurring their debts."

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