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Bankruptcy: Agriculture

Volume 462: debated on Wednesday 11 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how many and what proportion of farmers were declared bankrupt in (a) Ribble Valley, (b) the north-west and (c) the UK in each year since 1979. (147429)

[holding answer 3 July 2007]: The closest available estimates for bankruptcies among farmers are the numbers of bankruptcy orders made under the category “agriculture and horticulture” according to the Insolvency Trade Classification (ITC). The following table provides the figures for England and Wales, which are available from 1990 onwards.

Bankruptcies in Scotland and Northern Ireland are the responsibility of the devolved administrations and, while total bankruptcies could be provided, a breakdown by industry is not available.

Bankruptcy statistics are classified regionally according to the locations and areas of responsibility of official receivers' (OR's) offices, each of which covers a number of courts having insolvency jurisdiction, and are not directly comparable with administrative geographies. Statistics broken down by both industry and regionally are not readily available for the period requested.

The Insolvency Trade Classification is not consistent with the Standard Industrial Classification 2003 (SIC2003) which is used to classify businesses, nor is the regional classification in use consistent with standard administrative geographies such as counties and government office regions (GORs). It is not, therefore, possible to provide reliable estimates of the proportions of farmers becoming bankrupt, either at the regional or national level.

Bankruptcy orders in England and Wales in the agriculture sector (E and W), January 1990 to September 2006

Number

1990

198

1991

266

1992

313

1993

277

1994

231

1995

218

1996

168

1997

155

1998

157

1999

183

2000

173

2001

183

2002

132

2003

151

2004

204

2005

195

20061

129

1 Up to September. Figures from October 2006 are not available due to development work to update the classification of new cases to the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) 2003.

Note:

Figures are not available prior to January 1990.