The number of people in Scotland paying off their debts in full has increased, according to provisional figures from the Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB).
AiB, which administers the insolvency regime in Scotland, found that a total of £9.2m was repaid through Debt Arrangement Schemes (DAS) for the fourth quarter of 2016/17, down from £9.6m during the previous quarter.
The DAS is an approved debt payment programme backed by the Scottish government and allows debtors to pay their debts in full without facing insolvency. Between January and March this year, the number of these schemes completed in full by around 29 percent to 423, from 328 a year ago.
During the same period, total personal insolvencies in Scotland fell about four percent compared to the previous three months. Bankruptcies dropped 0.4 percent to 1,112, while protected trust deeds recorded fell by a bigger margin – by 6.6 percent to 1,401.
When assessed on an annual basis, however, the figures show personal insolvencies in Scotland are rising. Between January and March this year, the total hit 2,513, an 11 percent increase on a year ago.
As for the year 2016/17 as a whole, the number of personal insolvencies rose by 18 percent, but this remains the second lowest total in the last decade.
Paul Wheelhouse, minister for business, innovation and energy, said: “The numbers of people falling into financial difficulty and having to seek debt relief has been falling steadily for some time?.
“These figures are the second lowest since 2005/06 at which time award of bankruptcy was reserved to the courts. Since then, access to bankruptcy for those facing serious financial difficulty has been simplified greatly and in this context the figures highlight the low levels of personal insolvency we have in Scotland?.
“While we know better than to read too much into a single quarter’s figures in isolation, it is heartening to see this quarter reflects the long term downward pattern.”
He added: “There is no question Scotland’s businesses continue to face a challenging and uncertain future and it is a great testament to how robust and resolute they are that numbers of companies being forced to shut their doors continues to drop.”