Female bankruptcies reach record levels
The number of young women with unmanageable levels of debt has hit record-breaking new levels.
In the past quarter, 49.2% of all personal insolvencies involved women, the highest ever proportion, according to date from RSM Tenon, an accountancy firm.
Insolvency figures include bankruptcies, individual voluntary arrangements and debt relief orders.
Once the data was split down into age groups, women outnumbered men in the two youngest age groups: 65% of insolvencies in the 18-25 age group and 54% in the 26-35 group were women.
"This analysis marks a bleak day for female credit ratings up and down the UK," says Mark Sands, head of personal insolvency at RSM Tenon. "Whether women today are struggling more than ever to survive against the bleak economic climate, or are simply burying their head in the sand, this latest example of sex equality should serve as a wake-up call to them."
Broader economic factors explain one reason why female insolvencies are on the rise. Over a million women are currently unemployed - a figure that is growing by around 500 a day. And many women who are in work have been forced into part-time work at lower rates of pay than the full-time work they would prefer.
Women also make up almost two-thirds of the public sector workforce, so government cuts are hitting women harder than men.
There is some good news though; the total number of insolvencies is expected to have fallen again when figures are announced tomorrow. If that is the case, it will be the fifth successive quarter of year-on-year quarterly falls.
Generally speaking, insolvency is to businesses what bankruptcy is to individuals. A company is insolvent if the value of its assets is less than the amount of its liabilities, or it is unable to pay its liabilities (loan payments) as they fall due. It’s an offence for an insolvent company to keep trading, so the main options available to an insolvent company are: voluntary liquidation, compulsory liquidation, administration or a company voluntary arrangement.
A person (or business) unable to pay the debts it owes creditors can either volunteer or be forced into bankruptcy – a legal proceeding where an insolvent person can be relieved of their financial obligations – but loses control over their bank accounts. Bankruptcy is not a soft option. Although it may wipe the financial slate clean, it is extremely harmful to a person’s credit rating (it will stay on your credit record for six years) and will adversely affect your future dealings with financial institutions. Bankruptcy costs £600 paid upfront.