Warning as insolvency numbers fall
Bankruptcies have hit their lowest levels since 2004 as fewer people were declared insolvent in the third quarter of this year.
But analysts warned that the figures did not give the full picture of those with severe debts.
The Insolvency Service said individual insolvencies overall in England and Wales decreased to 30,219 in the third quarter, down from 30,513 in the three months to June.
The latest figure represents a 1% drop on the previous quarter and an 11% fall on the same period last year. Of this figure, the number of bankruptcies has tailed off to 9,567, a sharp fall of almost a third (31.2%) on the same period last year.
The last time there were so few bankruptcies was in 2004, when there were 8,999 in the last three months of that year.
Meanwhile, the number of debt relief orders stands at 7,604, a 7.6% rise on the same time last year and individual voluntary arrangements (IVAs) are up 0.7% on last year, with 13,048 people entering into an IVA between July and September.
The previous personal insolvency figures had represented a rise on the first quarter of this year, when insolvencies stood at 30,145.
Before the previous quarter's figures, personal insolvencies had been falling, despite the tough economic background which has seen stagnating house prices, job uncertainty and rising living costs.
Debt charity the Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) warned against complacency over the figures and said it feared a surge in personal insolvency over the next year "because millions of families remain financially vulnerable".
The number of firms going into liquidation in England and Wales continued to rise - to its highest level in nearly two years. Company liquidations rose to 4,242 in the latest quarter, up from a revised figure of 4,236 in the second quarter of this year.
© 2011 Press Association