The Insolvency Service has published statistics showing the areas of England and Wales where people are most likely to declare a form of personal insolvency. As in 2013, Welsh constituency Vale of Clwyd topped the 2014 ratings, with the latest figures revealing 48.6 insolvencies for every 10,000 adults.
Stoke on Trent North and Torbay were in second and third place, with 44.2 and 43.8 cases per 10,000 adults respectively. Other coastal areas in both the north and south of the country, such as Plymouth, Scarborough and Whitby, also reported high levels of insolvency – reflecting the financial decline that’s blighted British seaside resorts in recent years.
At the other end of the scale, Battersea and Harrow East in London were the two areas where residents are least likely to become insolvent, with just 7.2 cases per 10,000 adults. Other areas with low insolvency rates were also found to be in London, including Chelsea and Fulham, Hampstead and Wimbledon.
According to the Insolvency Service, the overall number of insolvencies across England and Wales is falling, with an average of 21.8 cases per 10,000 adults in 2014 compared to 22.4 the year before. But despite this, it’s plain to see that there are still ‘pockets’ of the UK where poverty and hardship are more widespread than in other parts of the country.
As well as reporting on total insolvency figures, the Insolvency Service also published statistics for the three types of personal insolvency that are currently available in England and Wales: bankruptcy, Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) and Debt Relief Orders (DROs).
The highest bankruptcy rates were found in the Manchester constituencies of Wythenshawe and Sale East, with 10.3 adults in every 10,000 declaring bankruptcy in 2014. Again, coastal areas featured heavily in the top 10, with Torbay and Blackpool reporting particularly high rates. Meanwhile, the Buckinghamshire area of Chesham and Amersham was found to have the lowest levels of bankruptcy, with just 1.8 cases per 10,000 adults.
Andy Gorton, owner of personal insolvency advice service, Bankruptcy Clinic, commented: ‘It’s good to see overall insolvency rates in decline – but it remains to be seen how much this has to do with the Bank of England’s long-term decision to keep the base rate at 0.5%. It could be that once interest rates start to rise, we see a corresponding surge in personal insolvencies as people can’t keep up with increases to their monthly debt repayments.’