Insolvency stats miss full scale of debt, claim practitioners

Bankruptcy rise: Joanne Wright

Bankruptcy rise: Joanne Wright

Quarterly figures released by the Insolvency Service, the government register
of bankruptcies and individual voluntary arrangements, have come under fire from
practitioners who say they fail to take into account the figures of failed IVAs
and the number of debt management programmes.

Debt management programmes are similar to IVAs, but are not a legislative
process and do not involve insolvency practitioners. DMPs consolidate all
unsecured debts into a single monthly payment over a period of time agreed by
the creditors.

Melanie Giles, insolvency practitioner at Jones Giles, said: ‘Given that the
Insolvency Service statistics only focus on formal appointments, i.e.
bankruptcies and IVAs, the ongoing trend of consumer indebtedness is not being
appropriately represented ­ the number of people entering into debt management
programmes is actually growing at a faster rate.

‘The Insolvency Service statistics ought to also focus on the number of
failed IVA cases, particularly during their first year,’ Giles added.

Joanne Wright, personal insolvency partner at Begbies Traynor, said: ‘The
statistics don’t reveal the whole picture, the demand for DMPs are high and the
figure is unknown but towards the last six months of this year we are going to
see a considerable rise in bankruptcy.’

Referring to the IVAs, a spokeswoman for the Insolvency Service said:
‘Although there is no legislative requirement to supply further information, we
are currently working with the industry to deliver more market information in
regards to IVAs’.

The Insolvency Service did not have a timescale of when that would be put in

DMPs are unlikely to be incorporated into government figures since the
Insolvency Service has no connection with them and cannot measure them, the
spokeswoman said.

According to the Insolvency Service there was a 1.7% increase in personal
insolvency, and 4.3% increase in IVAs compared to last quarter.

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