Improved scheme offers help for people in debt

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The Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS), a Scottish Government debt management tool which allows individuals and couples to repay their debts over a longer period, has been improved to benefit more people in Scotland.

Following consultation with stakeholders during 2012, and as part of the wider consultation on Bankruptcy Law Reform, the amended Scheme will from today freeze interest and charges at an earlier date, potentially saving people in debt up to 6 weeks interest.

The new regulations will also allow for a debtor to apply for a payment break of up to six months where there is evidence that there has been a reduction in income of more than 50 per cent and provides a new review process before appeal.

The number of people accessing DAS continues to grow at an unprecedented rate – a further rise of 40% in 2012 -13, making an overall ten-fold increase over the last six years. DAS helped debtors to re-pay a total of £23.2 million in 2012-13, an amount which compares very favourably with the £19 million repaid through Protected Trust Deeds (PTDs) in the same year.

Welcoming the amendments, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, Fergus Ewing MSP said:

“Success of this Government’s Debt Arrangement Scheme speaks for itself, with the number of people accessing DAS continuing to grow.

“DAS is an adaptable solution designed to respond to market changes and we need to do what we can, to help people whose debt burden may have built up since DAS was last updated in 2011, partly as a consequence of high-interest lending.

“I am pleased with the broad welcome that our changes have been given by organisations such as Citizens Advice Scotland who have said that our amendments “should have a beneficial effect on their bureaux and clients”.

“Following the introduction to Parliament of the Scottish Government’s Bankruptcy and Debt Advice Bill, earlier this month, these amendments to the DAS regulations can only further aid us in delivering our vision of a Financial Health Service in providing rehabilitation to people who are struggling under the burden of debt”.