Scottish Statutory Debt Solutions Statistics: January 2021

Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB) has released experimental statistics reporting statutory debt solutions in Scotland for January 2021. 

We apologise for the slight delay in the publication of the monthly statistical release. Due to minor difficulties, we were unable to publish this release on time at 09:30. Please contact aib_statistics@gov.scot for further information. 

Main points for February 2020 to January 2021 (compared with February 2019 to January 2020)

All main points within this section are presented on a 12-month rolling basis.

There were 8,412 personal insolvencies in the 12 months to January 2021 (inclusive), 5,289 (38.6%) fewer than in the previous 12 months.

Bankruptcies decreased by 44.3% in the 12 months to January 2021 when compared with the previous 12 months.

PTDs decreased by 35.5% over the same period.

There were 3,425 approved DPPs under the Debt Arrangement Scheme in the 12 months to January 2021 compared with 2,980 for the previous 12 months, an increase of 14.9%.

Main points for the analysis of the impact of emergency measures

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 January 2021, 1,426 applications for moratoria had been granted under the new powers.

In the period between 27 May and 31 January 2021 a total of 1,560 bankruptcy awards were made following applications submitted to AiB, all of which benefitted from the system of reduced application fees.  Of this total, 1,218 (78.1%) applicants were not required to pay any 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.

Background

A full statement of Scottish Statutory Debt Solutions Statistics for January 2021 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.