By Marcus Leach

Figures released by the Insolvency Service show that fewer people were declared insolvent in England and Wales for the opening quarter of 2011 despite a surge of spending at Christmas.

With 30,162 personal insolvencies in the first quarter, a drop of 1.7% on the previous three months, it was the fourth consecutive quarterly fall.

The Insolvency Service figures show the number was 15.5% down on the same period a year earlier.

However, it is not all good news as insolvency experts expect cases to rise again later in the year.

Speaking on the figures released Alec Pillmoor, Head of Personal Insolvency at Baker Tilly, said:

“The continued reduction in the number of people subject to formal insolvency processes shows that many individuals have made hard decisions in managing their household expenditure during a period when inflation has outstripped the increase in earnings.

“Although the reduction is welcome, it must be remembered that the same period last year recorded the highest ever number of personal insolvencies. To put this in perspective, the number of people who became personally insolvent this last quarter is more than four times the amount recorded for the same period nine years ago, when the economy was more buoyant.”