Rise in the number of people going bust

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Wigan is ranked fourth worst when it comes to personal insolvencies in the North West.

Only Blackpool, Preston and neighbouring St Helens notch up poorer results in a survey of individual hardship.

For the first time in six years levels of personal insolvencies has increased, according to latest government figures.

Wigan had 27.5 cases per 10,000 population, while Blackpool had 34.6, St Helens came in at 28.2 and Preston’s figure was 27.7.

Across the region 54 per cent of such cases involve women, with the north-west average increasing from 20.4 last year to 22.8 this time around.

Paul Barber, a partner at finance giant Begbies Traynor, said: “Within the North West and nationally, women are now consistently more likely than men to become insolvent. But it would be wrong to say that this is simply because they are more profligate. A breakdown of the figures shows that women are much more likely to use debt relief orders, which are designed to help people with assets under £1,000 and who are unable to pay even very small debts.

“It’s very easy to overspend if you don’t have much money in the first place and penalties like unauthorised overdraft charges or missed payment fees can keep people in a debt spiral.

“Lower incomes and employment levels mean women are more likely to be vulnerable to financial shocks. By contrast men are more likely to become bankrupt. Bankruptcies tend to be associated with larger value assets or debts, and the failure of a business. Given men are more likely to own their own business or be in full-time employment, this is not a surprise.”

Some of the recent personal insolvency and bankruptcy cases to go through the county courts locally include a female filling station boss from Platt Bridge, a retail manager from Boothstown, a former Wigan taxi driver and an ex-cleaner from Orrell.