According to the Bankruptcy Advisory Service, people are beginning to seek bankruptcy at a younger age, and their debts are getting bigger and bigger.
Almost 17,000 Britons went bankrupt in the first quarter of 2007, 10% more than in the same period of 2006. Last year, there were a total of 100,000 individual insolvencies.
Gill Hankey of the Bankruptcy Advisory Service cites the example of a 21 year old client who had run up £35,000 of debt on credit cards. She also believes that lenders are often not carrying out the proper checks:
‘”We have also seen someone on £900 a month with 17 credit cards and recently saw a woman who, despite being bankrupt, had managed to borrow £80,000 on credit cards.”
In reaction, banks and credit card companies are taking a harder line on debt government figures put court judgements at their highest levels for a decade, with 70% of cases related to outstanding credit.
In addition, there are increasing numbers of people who, in trying to avoid bankruptcy, have ended up struggling with repayment plans which are difficult to keep to.
These IVAs are promoted by many as a solution to outstanding debts, as debtors are allowed to write off some of the debt if they keep to a monthly payment plan.
The problem here is that IVAs are not necessarily the best solution for everyone and, as the companies setting up IVAs charge a fee, the first year of repayments is often taken up solely by these charges.
National Debtline cites the case of a woman who entered into an IVA after seeing an advert in her local phone book. Her debts were £21,000. Two years later she has paid £9,000 into her IVA, but £7,000 of this has gone to the company’s fees.
For many then, bankruptcy is often the best solution, though in the case of homeowners, there may be other ways of avoiding this step.
If you are in trouble, and have had court judgements raised against you of debt, then, unless you can agree and keep to a payment plan, the process will end with the repossession of your property.
Repossessed properties are normally sold at auction, and often for a fraction of its real value, as the creditors seek a quick sale to recover their money.