North East England has retained its unwanted place at the top of the national table for personal insolvency for the tenth successive year.
According to the latest annual figures from the Insolvency Service, there were 27.2 individual insolvencies per 10,000 people in the region in 2017, which are comprised of bankruptcies, Debt Relief Orders (DROs) and Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs).
The new figure represents a rise on the 2016 regional rate of 25.6 individual insolvencies per 10,000 people, and of 22.6 individual insolvencies per 10,000 people in the previous year
It is also over 25% higher than the personal insolvency rate (21.4) across England and Wales as a whole last year.
County Durham is the North East local authority area with the highest personal insolvency rate in 2017 (31.3 per 10,000 people, up from 28.8 in 2016).
Personal insolvency rates rose in Sunderland (28.1 per 10,000 people in 2017, up from 26.3 in 2016), Darlington (27.8, up from 26.3), and Northumberland (24.3, up from 22.8), but South Tyneside, North Tyneside and Gateshead bucked the national trend to record year-on-year falls from 28.1 to 27.7, 27.4 to 25.4 and 27.0 to 26.3 respectively.
Andrew Haslam, North East chair of insolvency and restructuring trade body and head of specialist business advisory firm FRP Advisory LLP’s Newcastle office, is advising people across the region who think their finances could be getting out of hand to take proactive steps to ensure they avoid ending up as part of next year’s statistics.
Across the UK, the individual insolvency rate per 10,000 adults remained higher for women (22.6) than it was for men (20.2) for the fourth consecutive year, while the gap between female and male rates has widened steadily from 1.0 in 2014 to 2.4 last year.
In the North East, the gender gap was especially pronounced, with 29.6 per 10,000 women becoming insolvent in 2017, compared with 24.7 per 10,000 men.
Between 2016 and 2017, insolvency rates in England and Wales increased for the 18-24, 25-34 and 35-44 age groups, but fell for the 55-64 and 65+ age groups.
Andrew Haslam says: “The geographical distribution of individual insolvencies is following a similar pattern to recent years. The places which have the highest rates of personal insolvency tend to be seaside towns, or areas affected by the decline of a particular industry – and in the North East, there is often an especially challenging combination of both these factors.
“The North East economy is continuing to evolve and modernise, with tourism and technology contributing ever more strongly to it, but the long-term effects of the loss of traditional industries in recent decades is still clearly being felt in communities right across our region.
“Money problems can hit anyone at any time for many different reasons, but there are perhaps the widest ever range of options available today to help people find solutions to their particular issues.
“It’s crucial that anyone who thinks their money worries are getting the better of them seeks qualified advice as quickly as possible, so they can give themselves the best chance of resolving their problems.”
Local Authorities in the North East and rates of personal insolvency in 2017
|Local Authority||Rate per 10,000 adult population|
|Newcastle upon Tyne||25.1|
|Redcar and Cleveland||23.9|
Source: Insolvency Service/R3