Personal insolvencies on the rise across Scotland

Personal insolvency across Scotland is on the rise according to the latest figures from the Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB).

Personal insolvencies on the rise across Scotland

The Scottish Government agency responsible for administering personal bankruptcy has provided new figures which show that in 2018/19 the total number of personal insolvencies has increased to 12,779. Whereas, in 2015/16 the total number recorded by AiB was 8,474. This has indicated a 50.8% increase over four years.

The figures from 2011/12 to 2017/18 provide various insights across the level of personal indebtedness and insolvency within Scotland. In terms of the total number of personal insolvencies, Glasgow retains its pole position at 1,216 cases in 2017/18, followed by Fife with 874, North Lanarkshire at 717, South Lanarkshire at 662 and City of Edinburgh at 617.

AiB figures have also revealed that in terms of total insolvencies per 100,000 of the 16+ population, the highest areas in 2017/18 ranked as: West Dunbartonshire at 39.7 per 100,000, West Lothian at 36.8, Dundee at 36.1, North Ayrshire at 30.0 and Fife at 28.5. Importantly, these areas were also some of the most indebted at the beginning of the period.

In 1979/1980, there were just 50 total personal insolvencies recorded in Scotland.

By 1992/93 however, the bankruptcy figure had risen to 11,675. Today in 2018/19 bankruptcies stand at 4,862, as protected trust deeds have come to the fore as the leading insolvency solution.

Another development over the period has been the introduction of the unique Scottish ‘Debt Arrangement Scheme’ (DAS) which is not insolvency, but a legally protected arrangement to pay back creditors over an extended period. One of its key benefits is that interest and charges are frozen. 

In 2018/19 the DAS figure for the year stands at 2,544.

TC Debt Solutions partner, Richard Gardiner, said: “The figures from AiB show just how entrenched debt is across Scotland and underline the general upward trend over the last 40 years. There has been little or no shift over the past seven years in particular in relation to indebtedness in the worst affected areas of Scotland. That’s pretty depressing, although the good news is that there are now more ways of dealing with debt effectively.

“As with everything, taking action as early as possible is key to dealing with problem debts and getting control of the situation. That’s why people should seek help and advice from a money adviser as soon as possible if their debts are beginning to cause issues for them.”

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