More than eight in ten insolvency experts expect rise in personal insolvencies

8th November 2023

More than eight in ten (85%) personal insolvency experts expect to see a rise in personal insolvency numbers in 2024, according to new research from R3, the UK’s insolvency and restructuring trade body.

When asked about the scale of the increase, 58% of respondents expect personal insolvency levels to rise moderately in 2024 compared to 2023 levels, while 27% expect them to rise substantially. 

Looking at this year, 44% of personal insolvency experts experienced a rise in their workload in 2023, with 39% reporting a moderate rise and 5% reporting a substantial one. 

When it came to the drivers of the increase in people seeking personal insolvency advice, the economic downturn was named by 30% of respondents as the main cause, followed by a rise in interest rates (17%), failure to repay unsecured debt (17%), and business failure (7%).

Mark Sands, Chair of the Personal Insolvency Committee at R3 and Head of Insolvency at Apex Litigation Finance, said “This data shows that the cost-of-living crisis – with rising prices and falling wages – is taking a toll on personal finances in the UK and suggests numbers may spike in 2024 unless something substantial changes economically.”

“Statistics published by the Insolvency Service in October show that while overall personal insolvency numbers decreased between Q1 and Q3 this year compared to the same period in 2022, the number of people becoming Bankruptcy or being granted a Debt Relief Order (“DRO”) in the first three quarters of this year actually increased by more than a fifth (22.6%) and the number of people entering a Breathing Space Moratorium were substantially higher than in the same period in 2022.”

“The fact that numbers for DROs and Bankruptcies, which typically cater for those with higher levels of debt, have increased this year suggests there is a serious debt problem in the UK. At the same time, more than 20,000 more people entered a breathing space moratorium in the first nine months of this year compared to the first three quarters of 2022, and this implies that an increasing number of people are taking and needing a break from creditor pressure to consider their options for resolving their debts.”

“The best step anyone who is worried about personal finances can take is to seek advice as soon as possible. We understand that initiating the conversation can be daunting, but money worries don’t go away on their own, and by seeking advice while your worries are at an early stage, you’ll have more potential options for resolving your situation and more time to think about your next step.”