A record number of people declared themselves bankrupt in the first quarter of 2009, as Britain continues to sink deeper into the credit crunch.

According to the Insolvency Service, 19,062 people were declared bankrupt in the first three months of this year which is a rise of almost a quarter (23.4%) in comparison to 2008.

10,713 people took out an Individual Voluntary Agreements (IVA) during this same period, an 11.8% jump year-on-year. An IVA allows those who have unaffordable debts to have a bankruptcy alternative so they can avoid some of the long-term effects of bankruptcy.

Experts are predicting that the number of people who are declared insolvent could rise to over 150,000 before the end of the year. Anyone concerned about their finances, and are thinking about bankruptcy or IVA, should seek specialist debt advice before declaring themselves insolvent as there are a number of financial solutions available.