Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB) has released experimental statistics reporting statutory debt solutions in Scotland for December 2020.
There were 9,070 personal insolvencies in the calendar year 2020, 4,542 (33.4%) fewer than in the same period the year before.
Bankruptcies decreased by 40.3% in the calendar year 2020 when compared with the same period the year before.
PTDs decreased by 29.5% over the same period.
There were 3,454 approved DPPs under Debt Arrangement Scheme in the calendar year 2020 compared with 2,907 for the same period the year before, an increase of 18.8%.
The introduction of new provisions on the statutory moratorium and the revised fee structures in place for accessing bankruptcy are part of emergency measures brought in by both the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 and the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020.
As at 31 December 2020, 1,207 applications for moratoria had been granted under the new powers.
In the period between 27 May and 31 December 2020, there were 1,435 new applications for bankruptcy which benefitted from the reduced application fee – 1,125 (78.4%) of which paid no application fee at all.
The figures released today are classed as Experimental Statistics though these were produced in accordance with the professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.
A full statement of Scottish Statutory Debt Solutions Statistics for December 2020 is available: https://www.aib.gov.uk/scottish-statutory-debt-solutions-statistics
A summary of emergency measures in related to statutory debt solutions brought in by both the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020 and the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020 is available: https://www.aib.gov.uk/covid-19-emergency-legislation
Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff – more information on the standards of official statistics in Scotland is available: https://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/About
The Accountant in Bankruptcy has a statutory duty to supervise all personal insolvencies in Scotland and administer those bankruptcies where The Accountant is appointed as trustee.
Legislation provides for all three statutory debt solutions in Scotland as well as the duties and functions of the AiB. The statute relating to bankruptcy, also known as sequestration, and Protected Trust Deeds (PTDs) is contained within the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act 2016 (“the 2016 Act”) and associated regulations. The Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) is provided for by the Debt Arrangement and Attachment (Scotland) Act 2002 and associated regulations, notably the Debt Arrangement Scheme (Scotland) Regulations 2011.
Bankruptcy legislation has evolved over many years. The Bankruptcy and Diligence Act 2007 introduced reforms from 2008 including the option of self-nominated bankruptcy by application to AiB, along with a new access route through Low Income Low Asset (LILA) bankruptcy. This provided for a streamlined process for insolvent individuals with low income and very few assets. The Bankruptcy and Debt Advice (Scotland) Act 2014 (“BADA(S)”) saw LILA replaced by Minimal Asset Process bankruptcy with effect from 1 April 2015, introducing more flexible entry criteria and a lower application fee.
BADA(S) also introduced a mandatory requirement for money advice prior to a self-nominated bankruptcy, thereby placing advice as an essential part of all statutory debt solutions in Scotland.
The Insolvency Act 1986 is the primary legislation covering Corporate Insolvency in the UK. However, there is secondary legislation which applies only in Scotland, being the Insolvency (Scotland) (Receivership and Winding up) Rules 2018 and the Insolvency (Scotland) (Company Voluntary Arrangement and Administration) Rules 2018. These rules replaced the Insolvency (Scotland) Rules 1986. Accountant in Bankruptcy is responsible for receiving, extracting and recording information from certain documents relating to company liquidations and receiverships as is required by the legislation referred to above.
The 2016 Act simplified and consolidated all previous statutes into one accessible piece of legislation as well encompassing the main statutory provisions for Protected Trust Deeds in primary legislation. Much of this had previously been contained in secondary legislation through the Protected Trust Deeds (Scotland) Regulations 2013.
PTDs are voluntary arrangements, where the debtor passes their estate to an insolvency practitioner who arranges to repay part of the debt to creditors on the debtor’s behalf. This is similar to Individual Voluntary Agreements (IVAs) in England and Wales; although there are important differences in the way they are set up and administered.
The DAS is administered by Accountant in Bankruptcy. Debt Payment Programmes (DPP) approved under DAS allow individuals to repay their debts in full over an extended period of time whilst providing protection from enforcement by their creditors and safeguarding their home as long as mortgage payments are maintained.
Details of bankruptcies, PTDs, liquidations and receiverships are found on the Register of Insolvencies, which is maintained by Accountant in Bankruptcy. Details of DPPs under DAS are found on the Debt Arrangement Scheme Register, which is also maintained by Accountant in Bankruptcy
Further information regarding insolvency in Scotland, including legislation, can be found on the Accountant in Bankruptcy’s website.