Charity Backs Debt Arrangement Schemes to Help Rising Number of Indebted Scots
April 27, 2017
The charity group StepChange has called for an expansion of Debt Arrangement Schemes (DAS) and revealed that the number of indebted Scots reaching out for help from its advisers increased by 20 per cent last year.
DAS help thousands of Scots every year get to grips with their debt management problems and reach agreements with their creditors around repayment plans.
StepChange wants to see their use become more widespread and to see them deployed as a means of providing more guarantees and protections to Scots who find themselves in financial difficulty.
“Expanding the DAS would give people time to get back on their feet without the worry of their debts spiralling out of control,” the Herald quotes a StepChange spokesperson as saying.
“By extending DAS, the Scottish Government would give people the best chance of getting themselves back into a position where they can start making payments on their debts.”
StepChange provided debt advice to close to 17,000 Scots last year, according to it’s the latest set of figures which were compiled as part of its annually published ‘Scotland in the Red’ report.
That figure jumped from just over 14,000 in 2015 and saw the charity group dealing with roughly 324 more debt help requests per week last year than the year before.
Worryingly, the average scale of the unsecured debts accrued by a StepChange client also increased last year and reached a figure of £12,677.
StepChange has also said that clients reaching out for guidance from its advisers in Scotland are increasingly struggling to cope with debts relating to essential expenses including rent or mortgage arrears and utility bills.
Meanwhile, as many as four in 10 of the charity’s clients across Scotland last year were in council tax arrears.
DAS are currently only available as an option for indebted consumers in Scotland but StepChange has been calling for their use to be extended to the rest of the UK in light of the “major benefits” they offer.
StepChange is an organisation whose advice we at Scotland Debt Solutions can confidently recommend to anyone with debts worth less than £5,000. However, if your debts are larger in scale than this figure then getting advice from a licensed insolvency firm could be essential and we can help.
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