The total number of bankruptcy cases or entries into Protected Trust Deeds (PTDs) recorded across Scotland increased by more than 20 per cent last year.
According to official figures from the Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB), the total number of personal insolvencies, which covers bankruptcy and PTDs, increased from 5,958 in the year 2017/18 to 7,917 in 2018/19.
There was also an increase of 9.7 per cent in the number of people in Scotland who entered into approved Debt Arrangement Schemes (DAS) in the full year 2018/19.
A DAS is a form of debt management solution that’s currently only available to people living in Scotland and which doesn’t count as an official form of insolvency.
Jamie Hepburn MSP, who is the minister for business, fair work and skills in the Scottish parliament, has said that the latest figures on personal insolvency from the AiB reflect “the challenging economic times we are facing with more Scots experiencing increased financial pressures”.
“The ongoing uncertainty around EU exit, alongside the challenges of the roll out of Universal Credit, bear much of the blame,” he said.
“In this climate it is more important than ever that people encountering financial difficulty seek early advice and the appropriate solution.”
Mr Hepburn said he welcomed the fact that a growing number of people are entering DAS as a form of debt solution that provides protections from creditors and makes it possible for Scots to pay off their debts without becoming legally insolvent.
He added that recent changes to the way DAS schemes operate should allow more people to make use of them across Scotland in months and years to come.
“The Scottish Government urges those in financial distress to obtain money advice at the earliest possibility in order to take control of their finances and ensure the right debt solution is found to suit their circumstances,” Mr Hepburn said.
A total of £37.1 million was paid back to creditors by entrants to DAS over the course of the year 2018/19, according to the AiB’s latest figures.
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A financial advisory service supported by the Scottish government has helped thousands of people around the country manage their money more effectively and save a collective total of some £6 million.
The Scottish economy could be severely impacted over a period of years if the UK were to leave the EU without reaching a deal on the terms of exit.
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