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Latest Accountant in Bankruptcy figures show stability following lengthy decline
New figures from Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB) show that the number of personal insolvencies in Scotland has returned to trend following significant reform of bankruptcy legislation.
Total personal insolvencies include both bankruptcies and protected trust deeds and totalled 2,405 for the first quarter of 2016-17 up to 30 June 2016, a 7.8 per cent increase on the previous quarter.
Taken as a whole, the Scottish Insolvency Statistics for the first quarter of 2016-17 show a return to relative stability following a bedding-in period after the introduction of the Bankruptcy and Debt Advice (Scotland) Act, which amended the laws governing bankruptcy on 1 April 2015.
Personal insolvencies in Scotland have been dropping consistently since 2008-09, and the numbers fell significantly in the first quarter of 2015-16, which marked the first months since the new legislation came into force.
The new figures for the first quarter of the year show 1,144 bankruptcies were awarded, which is 14.7 per cent up on the previous quarter. Discounting the same period a year ago which signalled the introduction of the new legislation, the figure is 41.7 per cent lower than the first quarter of 2013/14 and 34.9 per cent lower than in the same quarter of 2014/15.
The number of protected trust deeds recorded remained largely stable at 1,261, a 2.1 per cent increase from the previous quarter.
New debt payment programmes approved under the Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) fell slightly by 5.2 per cent on the previous quarter to 510. A total of £9.3 million was repaid through DAS to creditors this quarter which is a 1.5 per cent decrease on the amount repaid during the previous quarter.
A total of 364 DAS debt payment programmes were completed in the first quarter of 2016-17, which is 11 per cent higher than the previous quarter, and a significant 21.3 per cent rise compared to the same quarter of 2015-16.
Commenting on the latest figures, Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse said: "These figures indicate that people are becoming more accustomed to the new insolvency legislation and processes.
"We are now seeing the numbers settling down to a more regular pattern following the significant, and expected, drop after the introduction of the new laws.
"Compared to the same quarter from two years ago, prior to these changes, the number of people falling into insolvency today is down by more than a third.
"This shows those most in need can access the debt relief they require to help them on the road to a fresh financial start – but also that the long term movement is a downward one.
"We will continue to do everything we can to bring stability and certainty to the Scottish economy and widen access to debt relief and debt management for the most financially vulnerable."
The number of Scottish businesses becoming insolvent or entering receivership rose by 28, up from 230 in the final quarter of 2015-16 to 258. 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.
The figure for the quarter is made up of 175 compulsory liquidations and 81 creditor voluntary liquidations. There were only two receiverships recorded for the quarter. There were also 215 members' voluntary liquidations, which is significantly down from the 358 recorded in the previous quarter.
A full statement of Scotland's insolvency statistics for the first quarter of 2016-17 is available at
Scotland's Financial Health Service www.scotlandsfinancialhealthservice.gov.uk
is a one-stop shop for advice a range of money issues and signposts to organisations offering information and advice on debt, managing money, housing, homelessness and ethical lending. The Scotland's Financial Health Service helpline is available by calling 0800 707 6696.
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