Bury St Edmunds: Bankruptcies are down, but other forms of insolvency are on the rise

Darren Bullen, manager of the West Suffolk branch of Christians Against Poverty (CAP). Darren Bullen, manager of the West Suffolk branch of Christians Against Poverty (CAP).

Wednesday, June 25, 2014
6:00 AM

While the number of people being declared bankrupt in Bury St Edmunds has dropped by 64%, other forms of insolvency have actually risen, a debt specialist has said.

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The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has revealed that between 2009 and 2012 the number of bankruptcies declared in Bury has fallen by 64% (112 cases) following a question by the town’s MP David Ruffley.

Mr Ruffley said this demonstrated the strength of Bury’s economy and the UK’s recovery since the crash.

But Darren Bullen, manager of the Christians Against Poverty (CAP) west Suffolk debt centre, said these figures did not show the full picture as, in fact, two other forms of insolvency – debt relief orders (DROs) and individual voluntary arrangements (IVAs) –had increased in the Bury constituency.

He said between 2009 and 2012 DROs had risen from 46 to 98 and IVAs from 76 to 98.

He said while bankruptcy may be down nationally, the use of DROs “has rocketed”.

He added: “I’m really, really glad bankruptcies have dropped off and that’s great and I hope that continues, but as far as we are concerned – as a practitioner on the ground – bankruptcy is only one part of the story.

“What I’m seeing on the ground is things are not improving in the way these [Department for Business, Innovation and Skills] statistics suggest they might be. We still have a long way to go yet and lots of people really are struggling.”

The west Suffolk debt centre, which opened in October 2011, has seen 20 families go debt free, 10 through DROs, eight via bankruptcy and two through repayment.

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