Scottish Statutory Debt Solutions Statistics: October to December 2020 (2020-21 Quarter 3)

Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB) has released official statistics reporting statutory debt solutions and company insolvencies in Scotland for the third quarter (October to December 2020) of the financial year 2020-21.

There were 2,053 personal insolvencies (bankruptcies and protected trust deeds (PTDs)) in Scotland in 2020-21 Q3, 1,281 (38.4%) fewer than in the same quarter in the previous financial year (2019-20 Q3).

A total of 623 bankruptcies were awarded during this quarter - a 49.6% decrease on the same quarter in 2019-20.  PTDs decreased by 31.8% to 1,430 over the same period.

There were 587 applications for moratoria granted in 2020-21 Q3.  This is more than twice the figure (279) granted in the same quarter of 2019-20.

There were 1,037 debt payment programmes (DPPs) under the DAS approved in 2020-21 Q3, compared with 822 approved in the same quarter of 2019-20, an increase of 26.2%.

A total of 420 DPPs approved under the DAS were completed in 2020-21 Q3 – a 7.5% decrease on the same quarter in 2019-20.  There were 173 DPPs revoked in 2019-20 Q3 – a 4.8% increase on the same quarter in 2019-20.

In 2020-21 Q3, around £9.8 million was repaid from debtors under DAS compared with the £9.4 million repaid in 2019-20 Q3, an increase of 4.4%.

The number of Scottish registered companies becoming insolvent or entering receivership decreased in the third quarter of 2020-21, with 132 companies becoming insolvent compared with 226 in the same quarter of 2019-20.

The figures released today were produced in accordance with the professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

Background

A full statement of Scottish insolvency statistics for the third quarter of 2019-20 is available: https://www.aib.gov.uk/about-aib/statistics-data/quarterly-statistics

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.