Views called for on major reform of bankruptcy legislation

24.06.2013

Legislation aimed at improving debt advice, debt relief and debt management, including financial education and money advice from an approved money adviser, will be scrutinised by the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee. The Committee is today asking those who have been affected by debt and bankruptcy to give their views on the proposals.

The Bankruptcy and Debt Advice (Scotland) Bill sets out provisions which seek to ensure access to debt advice, relief and management, secure the best return for creditors, and ensure that those in debt that can pay should pay.

Committee Convener, Murdo Fraser MSP said:

“We are aware of the financial hardship and pressure faced by many people.

“This legislation proposes a range of measures aimed at ensuring people get access to the right advice and information and are aware of the options available to them on debt and bankruptcy.

“There are a range of reasons why people get into financial difficulty and the Committee is interested in hearing from individuals that have been affected by bankruptcy along with organisations and charities which support people in this area.

“It is right that those that can pay their debts do so and the Committee will look at the detail behind the proposals to determine if they provide the right balance between debtor and creditor.” 
 

The Committee is asking for opinions on issues including:

  • Advice and education: provision of compulsory money advice from an approved money adviser for anyone considering accessing a statutory debt relief or debt management product; provisions relating to the provision of financial education.
  • Payments by debtor following sequestration: development of a financial tool to be used to calculate the amount of any contribution to be made by an individual from any surplus income they have; allowing the Accountant in Bankruptcy to make an order fixing the debtor’s contribution towards their bankruptcy; allowing an assessed contribution to be deducted from the debtors wages.
  • Application for sequestration: requirement to sign a ‘Statement of Undertaking’ relating to the debtor’s duties and obligations during the bankruptcy process.
  • Administration of estate: introduction of a time frame (120 days) for creditor claims; variation in length of first accounting period to no less than 6 months.
  • Discharge following sequestration: process for debtor’s discharge from bankruptcy.
     

Background

The Bankruptcy and Debt Advice (Scotland) Bill was introduced to the Scottish Parliament on 11 June 2013.

To contribute written evidence to the Committee you can find the details in their call for evidence.

The Committee will begin to take evidence on the Bill in September 2013.

How to submit your evidence

The closing date for responses is Friday 23 August 2013.

All responses should be sent electronically (in MS Word format - no confirmatory hard copy required) to eet@scottish.parliament.uk

Written responses will be handled in accordance with the Parliament’s policy for handling written evidence received in response to calls for evidence.

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