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Seventy percent higher risk of bankruptcy in the North East than in London as R3 reveals personal insolvency hotspots

R3, the insolvency trade body, has published a ‘bankruptcy map’ revealing the regions and local authorities that have seen the highest proportion of new personal insolvency cases.

The bankruptcy map which looks at the number of new bankruptcies and Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) that occurred in England and Wales shows that the likelihood of becoming insolvent was almost seventy percent (69.5%) higher in the North East than in London. There were almost six thousand (5,923) new personal insolvency cases in the North East which means that for every ten thousand people, 29 of them became insolvent. The figures indicate that people who live in London are least likely to go into a formal insolvency procedure. The average number of new cases in England is 24.3 per ten thousand - in London there were 17.1 new personal insolvency cases for every ten thousand people.

R3’s President, Steven Law commented:

“Prior to the recession, the North East had a higher than average unemployment rate and the region’s construction industry was badly hit during the economic downturn so it is understandable that personal insolvencies are more common there. Londoners are least likely to become insolvent as there are more employment opportunities in the region. Unfortunately, with the announcement of public sector job cuts, it is likely that the figures will worsen, especially in areas such as the North East where public sector employment is high.”

The top ten insolvency hot spots (new personal insolvency cases per 10,000):

  • Torbay, South West (45.8)
  • Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire and the Humber (40.7)
  • Lincoln, East Midlands (39)
  • Plymouth, South West (38.8)
  • North Tyneside, North East (37.4)
  • Gateshead, North East (37.1)
  • Corby, East Midlands (37)
  • Hastings, South East (36.9)
  • West Devon, South West (36.9)
  • Thurrock, East Anglia (36.7)

Law commented:
“It is unsurprising that many of the top ten insolvency hotspots are coastal towns. Tourism and leisure services businesses are often the main employer in these areas and, when people are reining in their spending, these services tend to be the first affected which means businesses reduce staff hours or cut jobs; or replace permanent jobs with temporary positions.

“A low percentage of formal personal insolvencies does not equal good news, especially as the insolvency industry estimates that 500,000 people are in informal insolvency procedures and R3 research shows that nearly 1 million people are struggling with debt and have not yet sought help. R3 advises anyone who is in financial difficulty to seek advice sooner rather than later.”

Methodology note: Using a dataset on new personal insolvency cases available from Neighbourhood Statistics - and based on Insolvency Service data - R3 coded the data for all areas into bands (as displayed on the map), awarding each band a colour. The resulting colour-coding is clearly displayed on the map, which was sourced from the ONS / Ordnance Survey. The figures on personal insolvencies for each area refer to the number of new cases of IVAs and bankruptcies between January 2008 to December 2008 per 10,000 population. The full dataset is available from R3 or from the neighbourhood statistics website. 2009 figures will be released this summer.

R3 Press Office

Notes to editors:

  • R3 is the trade body for Insolvency Professionals and represents the UK’s Insolvency Practitioners.

  • R3 comments on a wide variety of personal and corporate insolvency issues. Contact the press office, or see for further information.

  • R3 promotes best practice for professionals working with financially troubled individuals and businesses; all R3 members are regulated by recognised professional bodies
  • R3 stands for 'Rescue, Recovery, and Renewal' and is also known as the Association of Business Recovery Professionals.