The regional gap between the rich and poor has been underlined by official figures showing the rate of individual insolvencies in recession-hit Britain.
The North East was the region with the highest total individual insolvencies rate in 2011 of 35.2 per 10,000 adults, twice that of London which was the lowest at 17.5, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.
The rate in the North East increased five-fold between 2001 and 2011, while the combined total for England and Wales increased around four-fold to 27.1 per 10,000 adults, the ONS said.
David Birne, insolvency partner at chartered accountants HW Fisher & Company, said: "These figures confirm what has long been apparent - that the pain of insolvency is not being spread evenly across the country."
The East Midlands and South West both had a rate of 30.4 in 10,000 in 2011, while the North West and Yorkshire & Humber had rates of 29.6 and 28.9 respectively.
Elsewhere, the West Midlands had a rate of 27.9 per 10,000, the East of England had 26.1 and the South East saw 24.3.
Total individual insolvency rates began to rise dramatically from 2004, the ONS said, following the implementation of the Enterprise Act 2002 and then again in 2008, coinciding with the start of the recession.
The Act meant bankruptcy could last for a minimum term of one year, rather than the two or three years required previously, but those who had previously been made bankrupt could face a term of bankruptcy for up to 15 years. In 2009 there was a sharp increase in total individual insolvency rates in all English regions and Wales due to the recession, with the loss of jobs and associated income.
London saw the smallest percentage rise between 2008 and 2009, from 17.0 total individual insolvencies per 10,000 adults to 19.6, while Wales saw the largest percentage increase between 2008 and 2009, from 23.8 to 31.8.
From 2009 to 2011 regional rates have fallen between 3% and 17% with three regions, the East of England, London and the South East, having fallen below their 2006 levels.