March 5, 2008 12:00 AM

Today, the Insolvency Service released regional insolvency and bankruptcy figures for 2000 to 2006 showing a huge rise in the number of bankruptcies and Individual Voluntary Arrangements (IVAs) in Wales.

The figures reveal:

• There were 2,009 IVAs in Wales in 2006 - a 400% increase on 2000 and 146% increase on 2005.

• There were 2,800 bankruptcies in Wales in 2006 - a 156% increase on 2000 and a 47% rise on 2005.

Commenting, Jenny Willott, Welsh Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, said:

"These shocking figures are further evidence that the ticking personal debt time bomb we have long warned about is starting to explode in Wales.

"Credit card debt is soaring, repossessions are rising and now we see a huge jump in the number of people in Wales going into bankruptcy or turning to IVAs.

"A big problem fuelling the rise in personal debt is the low level of financial literacy and understanding of how best to manage personal finances. This leaves many people vulnerable to exploitation by credit and loan companies, and unable to manage their debt effectively.

"Furthermore, there is huge demand for financial advice. This is why the Lib Dems would set up a network of financial advice centres, with face-to-face services that are free at the point of use.

"The Government and the financial services sector need to join forces on this and stump up money to fund a comprehensive advice service.

"The Government has sat on its hands for long enough over spiralling personal debt. It is time for them to act before thousands more in Wales end up in the red."

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