According to the government’s Insolvency Service, the total number of bankruptcies, insolvencies and individual voluntary arrangements in the final quarter of 2006 totalled 29,804.
This is a 44.1 per cent increase on the same period in 2005.
Pat Boyden, from PricewaterhouseCoopers, told the BBC: “Consumer debt has more than doubled since 2000. Logically, the more people owe money the greater the number of debt casualties.
“There are other factors at play too. People are more aware of insolvency, the stigma is less strong.
“In addition, it is easier to access insolvency than before due to the increase in companies offering individual voluntary arrangements.”
In fact, a survey by the Bank of England has found that attitudes towards insolvency are softening, with more people prepared to declare themselves bankrupt if they know someone else who has done the same.