The latest statistics from Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB) highlight a 10% rise in bankruptcies with an overall increase in Scottish personal insolvencies continuing to be driven by growth in the protected trust deed (PTD) market.
In the third quarter of 2018-19 covering the period 1 October to 31 December there were 1,981 PTDs in the third quarter of 2018-19, an increase of 23.8% on the same quarter last year.
Awards of bankruptcy totalled 1,217 and a 9.9% increase on the same quarter in 2017-18 when 1,107 were awarded. Total personal insolvencies which include bankruptcies and PTDs increased by 18.1% up from 2,707 in 2017-18 to 3,198 in 2018-19.
The Scotland-only Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) saw an increase in approved debt payment programmes with 668 awarded in the third quarter compared to 570 awarded in the same quarter last year, showing more Scots are successfully regaining control of their debt.
DAS allows individuals the ability to get back on track without entering insolvency, tore-pay their debts without fear of further action and obtain relief from additional interest and charges.
Within the quarter £9.1 million was repaid through the scheme, slightly down on the £9.5 million in the same quarter last year.
Commenting on the latest figures, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills Jamie Hepburn said:
“These figures highlight the uncertain economic times we are facing and the fact that more Scots are finding themselves without enough to live on.
“The economic damage caused by Brexit and the challenges of the roll out of Universal Credit bear much of the blame.
“In this climate it is ever more important for people encountering financial difficulty to seek early advice and the appropriate solution.
“At this time during the post-Christmas period when finances may have been stretched I would encourage those who are struggling to seek free and impartial advice at the earliest opportunity to address the problem before it gets out of hand.”
The Scottish Government has recently published a consultation on PTDs focusing on concerns they may not always present the appropriate solution for all individuals signing up to them or whether they consistently strike the right balance between the interests of creditors and those dealing with debt.
Scottish corporate insolvencies were up slightly on the same period a year ago with 209 recorded for the third quarter this year, eight more than the same quarter in 2017-18.
This number included 129 compulsory liquidations, 80 creditors’ voluntary liquidations and 122 members’ voluntary liquidations. No receiverships were recorded in the last quarter.
A full statement of Scotland’s insolvency statistics for the third quarter of 2018-19 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
Suzan Gunn, Communications Officer, Accountant in Bankruptcy
Telephone: 0300 200 2631