THE number of people going bankrupt or in other personal insolvency procedures in Blackburn and Darwen has fallen for the fourth year in a row, according to new figures.

The government figures, analysed by the insolvency trade body R3, show that 271 people in the borough became insolvent in 2013, equivalent to 24.9 people in every 10,000.

This figure was significantly lower than in 2012, when the insolvency rate was 29.1 per 10,000 people and well below 2009, when personal insolvencies peaked at 36.

The numbers of being in Blackburn and Darwen going bankrupt is lower than the regional average, as personal insolvency rate for the North West in 2013 was 25.6.

The Ribble Valley had the lowest level of personal insolvencies in the region with a rate of just 17, down from 20.9 in 2012. Figures were higher in Rossendale, where insolvencies rose from 27.2 in 2012 to 34.3 in 2013.

Hyndburn also had one of the highest rates in the North West, at 30.1.

Blackburn councillor Arshid Mahmood said: “It’s absolutely a good thing, people are obviously keeping their finances in order.

“It’s difficult to believe that it’s happening in the current economic climate, but I hope that it continues.

“We don’t want to see people going bankrupt, losing their assets, and losing their livelihoods.

“I don’t know if it’s because people are not opening businesses and taking risks because of the financial market.”

Richard Wolff, North West regional chair of R3 and Head of Corporate Recovery and Insolvency at JMW Solicitors in Manchester, said: “While it’s certainly to be welcomed that in most places the levels of personal insolvency have fallen from their peak, it is however very important to remember that the official statistics don’t capture those people in informal debt management plans.

“R3’s own research reveals that one in 14 adults - around seven per cent - in the North West are in a debt management plan which in my view is a significant proportion of the population.”