The number of Scots entering insolvency solutions has held steady compared to a year ago, according to latest figures released by Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB).
Statistics show there were 2,472 total personal insolvencies, which include awards of bankruptcy and protected trust deeds, in the second quarter of 2017-18, compared to 2,460 for the same quarter a year ago – a rise of just 12, or 0.5%. The figure for the quarter up to 30 September is around 400 down on the previous quarter total of 2,839.
Bankruptcies alone fell 2.3% compared to a year ago, down from 1,150 to 1,124. Protected trust deeds recorded showed a slight 2.9% rise on the same quarter in the previous year from 1,310 to 1,348.
Personal insolvencies in Scotland have more than halved since 2008-09, and the numbers fell in early 2015-16, the first months after the introduction of new legislation on 1 April 2015.
Approved debt payment programmes under the Scottish Government-backed Debt Arrangement Scheme were practically identical compared to a year ago, falling by just one from 663 to 662. A total of £9.4 million was repaid through DAS this quarter, which is up from £9.2 million repaid in the same quarter of 2016-17.
DAS allows debtors to pay their debts in full without facing insolvency. 425 DAS debt payment programmes were completed, up from the 408 completed in the same quarter a year ago.
Commenting on the latest figures, Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy Paul Wheelhouse said: "In the midst of the economic headwinds arising from ongoing UK Government austerity policies and rising consumer price inflation caused by the falling value of Sterling following the result of the Brexit referendum, it is heartening to see there is, as yet, no surge in numbers facing the strain of insolvency.
"There is no place for complacency of course, given the full impact of Brexit has yet to be felt, and while these figures indicate personal insolvency in Scotland is settling down to a stable level, and at a lower level than in previous years, I am under no illusion as to the challenges we face due to continued Brexit uncertainty and the fact there is no end in sight to the UK Government’s ongoing and unnecessary programme of austerity.
"The numbers of people falling into bankruptcy and signing protected trust deeds are around half of what we saw eight or nine years ago.
"By continuing to promote financial education and administer the Debt Arrangement Scheme, we are ensuring the right support is available to those financially vulnerable individuals who need it most."
The number of Scottish businesses becoming insolvent or entering receivership also remained largely stable, with a rise of just nine from the second quarter of 2016-17 to the corresponding quarter this year.
Total corporate insolvencies rose 4.2% from 216 to 225. The figure for Q2 of 2017-18 is made up of 160 compulsory liquidations and 65 creditor voluntary liquidations. No receiverships were recorded for the quarter. There were also 135 members' voluntary liquidations, which is up from the 106 recorded in the same quarter for 2016-17.
The Minister added: "We are clearly aware of the challenging economic environment Scottish businesses operate in and the uncertainty they face due to Brexit. While there are tentative signs of improving conditions in the oil and gas sector, individual companies in the supply chain continue to face challenging circumstances.
"These figures showing a stable level of corporate insolvency, taken in the context of continued growth in GDP, demonstrate the resilience of the Scottish economy in the face of these challenges."
A full statement of Scotland’s insolvency statistics for the second quarter of 2017-18 is available.
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.
Further information regarding insolvency in Scotland, including legislation, can be found on the Accountant in Bankruptcy’s website www.aib.gov.uk
Gavin Cameron, Communications Manager, Accountant in Bankruptcy
Telephone: 0300 200 2636 / 07976 183010