The number of insolvencies in England and Wales reached its highest ever amount during the last three months, official figures reveal.
The Insolvency Service says that there were 27,644 separate insolvencies between July and September, an increase of 5.7 per cent compared to the previous three months.
Today's figures represent a 55 per cent rise on the corresponding period last year.
Included in the 27,644 total are 15,416 bankruptcies and 12,228 individual voluntary arrangements (IVAs), which went up by 2.7 per cent and 9.8 per cent on a quarterly basis respectively.
However, on a like-for-like basis, the number of IVAs being taken out has increased by 117.9 per cent.
Commenting on today's results, Gavin Shreeve, chief executive of charity Ifs School of Finance, said: "These figures are yet another aspect of the disturbing trend of increased debt problems across the UK.
"Helping people to become sufficiently financially capable - which would reduce incidences of insolvency - requires a direct link between government initiatives and financial education."
Mr Shreeve says that the government should push ahead with financial education classes for schoolchildren to address the problem.
Today's government statistics also reveal that there were 3,235 company liquidations in England and Wales in the third quarter of 2006, a marginal drop compared to the previous three months.