A total of 33,945 people have been served with bankruptcy orders over the last year - a rise of 13% from the previous year.
Government figures also show that personal bankruptcies in the third quarter of 2003 are running at almost 17% higher than in the third quarter of 2002.
The figures come just days after the Liberal Democrats released figures showing individual personal debt has leapt by 50% since 1997. The average person now owes over £5,300 in unsecured loans, while the average annual household debt stands at over £37,000.
Malcolm Bruce, Liberal Democrat shadow DTI secretary, says: “These bankruptcy figures will come as another warning to those who are getting in debt over their head. With over 33,000 people being declared bankrupt and 20 million cases of credit arrears passed to bailiffs over the last year, it looks like the bailiffs business is about to enter its own boom time.
“The rate rise this week shows the Bank of England is desperate to damp down borrowing. The message to people now must be, think before you borrow - and don't borrow to your limits as rates may rise further.”