The number of people declared insolvent came down between June and September this year. There were still more than 30,000 personal insolvencies in England and Wales - but only slightly more.
Of course, 'insolvency' doesn't always mean bankruptcy anymore. These days, people who are seriously struggling with debt might be able to enter an IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement) or a DRO (Debt Relief Order) instead.
In the third quarter of this year :
• 30,219 people in England and Wales were declared insolvent
• 9,567 of those people entered bankruptcy
• 13,048 of them entered an IVA
• 7,604 of them entered a DRO.
They're very different kinds of insolvency, designed to help people in very different situations.
Bankruptcy is the oldest form of insolvency. If you can't repay the money you owe and can't afford to make significant monthly payments to your lenders, bankruptcy might be the best solution for you. In most cases, bankruptcy lasts for just one year, after which the individual is 'discharged'. They may, however, have to make contributions for three years (if they can afford it) - and they may well lose any property they own.
An IVA is a newer kind of insolvency, introduced in 1986. It can help people who don't want to enter bankruptcy, but still need to enter some kind of insolvency. Unlike bankruptcy, IVAs typically last for five years - but they're also very unlikely to require the individual to sell their property (although they may have to release equity in any property they own). If you can't afford to repay what you owe in a reasonable period of time but can afford to make a reasonable contribution every month, an IVA may be your best option.
A DRO is a new form of insolvency, introduced in 2009. DROs can help people who have very little in the way of income or assets, and who owe less than £15,000. If you can't repay your debts and your monthly disposable income is £50 or less, a DRO may be the best option for you.
Note that entering any form of insolvency will have a serious impact on an individual's credit rating.