Bankruptcy too expensive for those in debt

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The Independent Online

A substantial fall in the number of people going bankrupt could be due to high fees not any improvement in personal finances, a leading debt advice body has warned.

Joanna Elson, the chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, said that a 10 per cent fall in the numbers of people going insolvent "may largely be driven by increases in the fees required to make yourself bankrupt".

She added: "People struggling with debt often can't afford the £700 it costs to go bankrupt [£525 for the deposit plus £175 for the court fee], even though it would otherwise be their best option.

"This leaves them in a financial black hole. The numbers using debt relief orders, one of the cheaper remedies, has risen."

On Friday, it was revealed there were 27,390 personal insolvencies in England and Wales in the second quarter of this year, a 10 per cent decrease on the same period a year ago and the lowest figure since the summer of 2008.

The figures are a surprise as the UK has recently entered recession, but Ms Elson warned insolvencies may spike again later this year: "These figures are likely to get worse, with incomes increasingly unable to match rising prices. For this reason, free, impartial debt advice services are more important than ever."

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