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Finance experts in Cumbria have warned the county faces a "looming" debt crisis as levels of bankruptcy spiral.

Accountancy firm Armstrong Watson told the News & Star borrowers should prepare for a financial "storm".

The firm said the increase in bankruptcy has been caused by the five interest rate hikes by the Bank of England.

Mortgage holders owing £100,000 will have had to find an additional £80 a month, the newspaper warned, which could lead to an increase in home repossessions.

Daryl Warwick, an insolvency partner with Armstrong Watson, said many people have enjoyed the credit boom but are now paying the price.

He said: "Cumbria has already witnessed unprecedented increase in levels of bankruptcy – twice the national average."

In 1986, the government created individual voluntary arrangements as an alterative to bankruptcy. They must be arranged through an insolvency practitioner but can spare the borrower the limitations caused by going bankrupt.

Debtors can often become debt-free within five years, while companies receive tax breaks to help cover any losses.

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