Bankruptcy rate 'disproportionate'
Middle-class skilled workers saw the biggest jump in insolvencies during 2010 as growing numbers of them could not keep up with their debts, research has indicated.
Credit reference agency Experian said people who earned good wages working in city centre office jobs or on the shop floor of large assembly plants accounted for 10.34% of all bankruptcies, individual voluntary arrangements and debt relief orders taken out in 2010, 4.5% more than in 2009.
But despite the sharp rise in the number of middle class people unable to keep up with their borrowings, people reliant on benefits were the most likely to go insolvent, accounting for 8.1% of the total, despite making up just 4.52% of the UK adult population.
A high level of insolvencies was found among young, single professionals and middle income earners just starting their careers, making up just 3.99% of the population but accounting for 6.36% of those unable to repay debt.
Experian also found a slight increase in insolvency numbers among the so-called industrial heritage group - people approaching retirement who tend to live in communities historically dependent on mines, mills and assembly plants for work.
Simon Waller, head of collections at Experian in the UK and Ireland, said: "There are certain sections of society that continue to face ongoing difficulties. The recession hit different people and communities at different stages and some are finding it harder to shake off its effects."
Meanwhile, separate research by the Consumer Credit Counselling Service found that people in Northern Ireland and London were most likely to have been advised to go bankrupt during 2010, at 12.9% and 11.5% respectively.
In the South East and South West a respective 11.5% and 11.3% were advised to go bankrupt.
Relative to the size of the population, London also had the highest demand for debt advice services, with 24.3 people per 10,000 receiving counselling last year. In Yorkshire the rate was 23.6 people and in the North East and West Midlands the rate in both regions was 23 people per 10,000.