THE rate of personal insolvency in Swindon rose by nearly 20 per cent in 2017.

In 2016 19.8 adults per 10,000 in the town were declared insolvent, according to Insolvency Service figures.

But by 2017 that had risen to 24.6 per 10,000, an increase of 19.5 per cent.

In Swindon there were 419 new insolvency cases in 2017, up from 334 the year before.

Insolvency is when a person cannot pay off their debts and has to arrange a plan with an official body to pay off creditors.

Geoff Naylor, Swindon centre manager at Christians Against Poverty, told the Adver: “I’m increasingly seeing people who have very tight budgets and realistically they are never going to be able to pay it off.

“We’ve run the debt centre for nearly 10 years and there has been a slow increase in the number of people for whom insolvency is the only way out.

“They’ve got so little to live on as a family that the only realistic route is a debt relief order.”

Debt relief orders were brought in two years ago to help people struggling to pay off even small amounts of debt.

“I have seen quite a number of people who have found themselves in debt when they’ve moved onto Universal Credit,” Geoff added. “Partly because of the wait of getting it sorted out.

“If you’ve got no reserves at all and you have to wait five or six weeks without anything to live on, then you have to borrow to survive.

“There’s very few people who borrow huge amounts on credit cards, that’s shifted.

“Often the debt comes out of a change in circumstances, whether that’s ill health, or having to look after a relative, or a relationship breaks down, it’s not usually these days just because of being spend thrift.

“Debt doesn’t come on its own, it comes because of something else.”

Overall in England and Wales the insolvency rate increased for the second year.

The data shows women are more likely to be insolvent than men, the biggest percentage of new cases was among 25 to 34-year-olds.

If you have problems with debts you cannot pay, The Swindon Citizens Advice Bureau advice line is free to call on 03444 994 114.