Bankrupt Kirkcaldy?

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MORE people in Kirkcaldy are going broke than ever before, new figures have revealed.

Within the last year in the town more than 80 people in every 10,000 became bankrupt - making the town the second highest concentration for personal insolvencies in the whole of the UK - behind only Glenrothes.

Personal bankruptcy in Kirkcaldy increased by 12 per cent last year, with numbers around twice the UK average.

And finance experts have said the situation is unlikely to improve any time soon, with fewer jobs and the benefits overhaul said to increase the number even more.

Middle class

The figures, released by global information company Experian, show that while people claiming benefits and single people living alone are those most likely to be declared bankrupt, the biggest increase has been among middle-class, middle-aged and skilled working-class employees.

Norma Philpott, chief executive of Citizens Advice and Rights Fife, told the Press the reality is the figures will not bounce back to previous rates within the near future.

Norma said: “We do not see a reduction in personal insolvency coming because of the on-going impact of the recession, as well as the effects of the welfare reform.

“Between April 2010 and March this year we have had 207 clients from across Fife who have gone down the personal insolvency route, with 42 more pending.

Reality check

“While it’s not nice to see Kirkcaldy and Glenrothes at the top of these figures, it is reflective of the reality that people are having to deal with debt, and by going down this route they are addressing the problem.

‘‘It is probably more worrying the people who are not seeking help, but need it.”

The biggest rise in personal bankruptcy across the UK was in ‘suburban mindsets’, Experian said. The group includes those who commute to city centre jobs.

Norma added that the reason behind such an increase in the town may be down to the number of commuters who travel to Edinburgh for jobs in the banking and finance sector - an area which has been hit hard by redundancies.

l www.carf.cas.org.uk.