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Insolvency Law

Expert guidance on all aspects of corporate and personal insolvency

17 JAN 2011

Insolvency Service missive on dealing with debt - some useful pointers

The Insolvency Service (IS) have published a long missive on dealing with debt. It makes particularly interesting reading in this debt heavy period. The release marks a dealing with debt campaign with various charities. The IS note:

"In 2009 personal insolvency numbers were the highest for 20 years. In 2010, despite a slight drop, the number of people entering into formal insolvency procedures remained relatively high, showing that more needs to be done to encourage people to manage their money better, and where possible, to avoid insolvency.

Insolvency affects different groups of people in different ways:

  • Britain’s pensioners are shown to be the fastest growing group of bankrupt individuals in the UK. Although levels of bankruptcy among men and women aged over-65 are the lowest in the UK, the numbers of bankrupt individuals in this age group have increased six times in a decade and at a 50% faster rate than for other age groups;
  • Men still make up the majority of bankrupts (60% in 2009) but the proportion of women bankrupts is growing (from 29% in 2000, to 40% in 2009);
  • The average age of a bankrupt individual in the UK is 41, which is close to the average age of the population (39.5yrs).
  • Among women aged over-65, the rate of bankruptcy has grown even more sharply, over ten times between 2000 and 2009 and in London it is 43 times higher;
  • Since they started in April 2009 to the end of September 2010, 30,838 people have taken out Debt Relief Orders, to free them from unmanageable debt and support them in making a fresh financial start.
  • The average age of a person with a Debt Relief Order between April-December 2009 is 40 years-old, which is comparable to that of a bankrupt for the same period (41 years-old)...

When entering into a personal insolvency procedure more people need to be aware of where they can go to get free advice and that the insolvency regime offers them more than just bankruptcy. There are plenty of reputable organisations that supply debt management advice for free.

Stephen Speed, Chief Executive of The Insolvency Service said,

“Although personal insolvency levels are no longer rising, they remain stubbornly high, reflecting the high levels of personal debt that persist across the country.
“Prevention is much better than cure as far as personal finances are concerned. Review your personal finances frequently and make sure you are not taking on debt that you can’t afford to repay.
“If you are getting into trouble, act quickly and seek advice about how to deal with it. There are plenty of sources of advice, many of which are available free of charge. If insolvency looms then remember that you have choices. Discuss these with your adviser and make sure you understand which one is best for you. The Insolvency Service’s booklet, “In debt? Dealing with your creditors” provides clear and impartial information that will help you understand your options.”

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