Date lodged: 9 December 2016
To ask the Scottish Government what its position is on the proposal by the StepChange Debt Charity and others to extend the Debt Arrangement Scheme to help people who have undergone an income shock.
Answered by: Paul Wheelhouse 21 December 2016
I recognise the extreme difficulty and distress that an income shock can cause individuals and their families. The Scottish Government has fought to provide a supportive framework to help individuals to address their indebtedness and reassure a positive path in terms of their personal finances.
Scotland has lead the way in implementing a moratorium, being the only part of the UK which has a moratorium in place at this time. The current 6 week moratorium period was extended to cover all our statutory debt management and debt relief products as part of the Bankruptcy and Debt Advice (Scotland) Act 2014, and will be reviewed when we look at the impact of all the changes introduced in that legislation during the coming year.
The Scottish Government, through Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB), is currently carrying out a policy review of DAS legislation. This includes analysing the effectiveness of payment breaks which provide flexibility to those who suffer a short term income shock while they are in a DAS Debt Payment Programme. A consultation was carried out as part of this review and will help to inform our future policy. AiB is currently finalising its response to this consultation.