Debt solutions in Scotland hold steady

Latest figures from Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB) show the number of people accessing Scottish statutory debt solutions has remained steady in the third quarter of 2016-17.

Figures for bankruptcies, protected trust deeds and debt payment programmes under the Scottish Government-backed Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) have stayed largely stable, showing a 1.9 per cent increase from the previous quarter to 3,145.

In the three months between 1 October and 31 December 2016, 1,116 bankruptcies were awarded, similar to the number awarded during the previous quarter.

The number of protected trust deeds recorded increased to 1,500 from 1,311, a 14.4% per cent rise from the previous quarter.

There were 529 new debt payment programmes approved under DAS compared with 662 approvals in the previous quarter. A total of £9.6 million was repaid by individuals towards clearing their debts through DAS this quarter. This was a 3.7 per cent increase on the amount repaid during the previous quarter.

Over 400 debtors paid off their debts in full through DAS, with 408 DAS debt payment programmes completed, a 30.8 per cent rise compared with the same quarter of 2015-16.

DAS allows debtors to pay their debts in full without facing insolvency. By contrast, total personal insolvencies, which include both bankruptcies and protected trust deeds, totalled 2,616 for the third quarter of the year up to 31 December 2016, a 7.9 per cent increase on the previous quarter.

The figures come in the wake of legislation changes, which saw the introduction of the Bankruptcy and Debt Advice (Scotland) Act on 1 April 2015.

Personal insolvencies in Scotland have more than halved since 2008-09, and the numbers fell significantly in early 2015-16, the first months after the new legislation came into force.

Commenting on the latest figures, Minister for Business, Energy and Innovation Paul Wheelhouse said: “While one person experiencing the distress and anxiety of insolvency is one too many, numbers appear to be settling down at a lower level than they have been in previous years.

“However, there is no room for complacency. The Scottish Government will continue to do everything it can to bring prosperity to Scotland and protect the most financially vulnerable through support for financial education and providing access to debt relief and debt management for those who need it.”

The number of Scottish businesses becoming insolvent or entering receivership fell  from 218 in the second quarter of 2016-17 to 209 in the current quarter. AiB reports on the number of corporate insolvencies and member voluntary liquidations logged. As a consequence of the time taken between the date a corporate insolvency is awarded or a member voluntary liquidation is registered and when AiB receives notice, the figures may not exactly reflect the number of corporate insolvencies awarded or member voluntary liquidations registered during a quarter.

The figure for the quarter is made up of 137 compulsory liquidations and 72 creditor voluntary liquidations. No receiverships were recorded for the quarter. There were also 151 members' voluntary liquidations, which is up from the 106 recorded in the previous quarter. 

The Minister continued: “It is heartening to see fewer Scottish companies shutting their doors this quarter - although we are acutely aware of the challenging economic environment that our businesses continue to operate in. 

“The reduction in numbers this quarter is better news for the Scottish economy and I hope we can see numbers fall further in due course as we seek to ensure Scotland is a place where companies can flourish.”

Background

A full statement of Scotland’s insolvency statistics for the third quarter of 2016-17 is available here.

Scotland’s Financial Health Service www.scotlandsfinancialhealthservice.gov.uk

is a one-stop shop for advice a range of money issues and signposts to organisations offering information and advice on debt, managing money, housing, homelessness and ethical lending. The Scotland’s Financial Health Service helpline is available by calling 0800 707 6696

Further information regarding insolvency in Scotland, including legislation, can be found on the Accountant in Bankruptcy’s website www.aib.gov.uk

Contact

Gavin Cameron, Communications Manager, Accountant in Bankruptcy

Telephone: 0300 200 2636 / 07976 183010