Statistics released by the Insolvency Service show that even before the financial effects of Covid-19 hit people’s incomes, Scarborough recorded the highest level of personal insolvencies of any local authority across England and Wales.
There were 453 cases of bankruptcy in the borough in 2019 - a rate of 50.8 per 100,000.
That number was up from 426 the previous year and a rate of 47.8 per 100,000.
The average rate for Yorkshire and Humber was 29.5 per 100,000.
Eleanor Temple, chair of insolvency trade body R3 in Yorkshire, warned the pandemic is likely to have exacerbated Scarborough's rate.
“The latest statistics once again show a picture of winners and losers by region, with nine out of the ten local authorities with the lowest insolvency rates being in London, while eight of the ten highest were in coastal areas," she said.
"With higher personal insolvency rates a symptom of wider deprivation, it is concerning that a town in our region now has the highest rates of personal insolvencies across the whole of England and Wales.
“The statistics are a stark reminder of the continuing North South divide with the North East, the North West and Yorkshire and the Humber ranked as the three regions with the highest levels of personal insolvency.
"The endemic hardships being faced across the North once again highlight the need for debt advice services to be targeted and tailored for people living in less affluent areas.
“Unfortunately, the disruption and economic fall-out caused by the pandemic is likely to hit people in these areas the hardest.
"After decades of industrial decline, employment was already more precarious and with hospitality and retail suffering from the COVID lockdowns, these types of jobs are likely to be in short supply, and we expect to see even more disturbing figures for 2020.
"Given the current challenges, we believe that the Government should make it a priority to ensure that people in problem debt are aware of their options, and that they can access a suitable form of personal insolvency if that is the best option for them.”