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Middle class insolvencies on the rise

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Overall personal insolvencies dropped slightly in 2010, but increased among the middle classes, research has shown.

Credit reference agency Experian revealed that the biggest increase in insolvencies was among married, middle aged and middle class Britons, which make up just over 13% of UK adults.

This group accounted for 10.34% of personal insolvencies in 2010, 45 basis points higher than in 2009.

Young, single professionals and middle income earners had the second highest concentration of insolvencies in 2010.

This group, which accounts for 3.99% of UK adults, was responsible for 6.36% of insolvencies, up slightly on 2009 levels.

Experian reported that people reliant on benefits were the most likely to become insolvent, accounting for 8.1% of the total despite representing just 4.52% of the UK population.

Individuals on limited incomes, renting small flats from local councils or housing associations, saw its share of insolvencies fall by 21 basis points to 5.92% in 2010.

Simon Waller, head of collections at Experian in the UK and Ireland, said: “While it is encouraging to see a small reduction in personal insolvency levels across the UK, 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.

“Lenders that understand their customers’ credit behaviour, how it might change in the future and can react rapidly to signs of financial distress are best placed to manage their books in a responsible and sustainable way.”