Statistics showing insolvencies in the first quarter of 2012 are published today (4 May) by the Insolvency Service.
There were 28,723 individual insolvencies in England and Wales in the first quarter of 2012. This was a decrease of 4.7% on the same period a year ago.
This was made up of 9,132 bankruptcies (which were down 27.2% on the corresponding quarter of the previous year), 7,897 Debt Relief Orders (DROs) (which were up 16.3% on the corresponding quarter of the previous year) and 11,694 Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) (which were up 8.1% on the corresponding quarter of the previous year). In April 2011 a change was introduced to Debt Relief Order legislation to allow those who have built up value in a pension scheme to apply for debt relief under these provisions; this will have increased the overall numbers of those eligible to apply for a Debt Relief Order, and is also expected to have had some impact on the numbers of bankruptcy orders.
In the first quarter of 2012, 7,233 bankruptcies were made on the petition of the debtor (representing 79.2% of total cases); both the level of debtor petition bankruptcies and their share of total cases have been following a generally decreasing trend since the beginning of 2009 when there were 17,606 (86% of the total). The percentage of bankruptcy orders involving trading debts (self-employed bankrupts) was 22% in the fourth quarter of 2011 (first quarter 2012 figures for trading-related bankruptcies are not yet available); higher than throughout the previous few years.