Insolvencies reach highest level in three years

Updated: 

The number of people going financially insolvent jumped to its highest levels in nearly three years in the first quarter of 2017, official figures show.

Some 24,531 personal insolvencies were recorded across England and Wales in March, marking the highest level seen since the second quarter of 2014, according to the Insolvency Service.  

The quarterly total is 15.7% higher than the same period a year earlier and a 6.7% increase compared with the final quarter of 2016.

The upswing was mainly driven by an increase in individual voluntary arrangements (IVAs), which made up 59% of the quarterly total.

Debt relief orders (DROs) accounted for a quarter (25%) of personal insolvencies between January and March, while the remaining 16% were bankruptcies, which are often seen as a "last resort".

IVAs are arrangements whereby money owed is shared out between creditors. DROs are available to people with less than £20,000 of debt.