British bankruptcy applications up 12%

The number of British people facing bankruptcy climbed in the first quarter of this year, official figures showed today.

A total of 13,080 people applied for bankruptcy during the first quarter of this year, up 12% compared to the previous three months.

The figure, released by the UK Ministry of Justice, is on the rise after falling during the whole of last year. It is well down on the 15,100 level seen for the same period in 2007, however.

There was also a 6% rise, to 4,851, in the number of creditor bankruptcy petitions during the first quarter, which are launched by people who are owed money.

It was found that 2,965 companies were facing winding up petitions, up 3% from the previous quarter and the third successive quarterly rise.

The combined data provides the latest indication that more people and businesses in the UK are finding it harder to make ends meet amid this year amid soaring household bills.

Last week, first quarter figures showed the number of people facing home repossession rose to its highest level for 16 years. The number of people declared insolvent rose during the period also for the first time in year to 25,264.

Howard Archer, chief UK economist of Global Insight, said he was expecting to see further rises in the bankruptcy figure this year.

“It’s a trend that I would expect to continue going forward,” he said.

“The economy was still growing in the first quarter of last year and it was really only late last year and so far this year that the economy has started to slow markedly.”

Home energy bills have been upped by up to a fifth this year, while petrol prices have also risen by around 25% during the past 12 months.

Homeowners renewing their mortgages over recent months have also faced big hikes in costs after a rise in interest rates last year.

There have been calls for lenders such as banks and building societies to do more for home-owners struggling to meet their repayments.

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