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Significant decrease in personal insolvencies while DAS applications slowly increase.

DAS cases rise in Scotland
Big changes in Scotland's personal debt landscape

The Scottish Government’s latest figures on Statutory Debt Solutions provide information to help respond to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our economy and society. These solutions relate to Bankruptcies, Trust Deeds and The Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS).

Overall, the Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB) stats for April 2020 to March 2021 (compared with April 2019 to March 2020) show a slight increase in Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) applications at 17.4%. But a significant decrease in Protected Trust Deed (PTD) and Bankruptcy applications which were down 39.8% and 50.8% respectively.

Historically, following an economic crisis, insolvencies increased in line with improved economic growth, peaking after the recession had ended. However, during the 2008 financial crash insolvencies peaked during the recession. This was mainly due to low interest rates, increased creditor forbearance and a raft of government measures.

During 2020 we saw a dramatic fall in the number of insolvencies both personal and corporate following unprecedented fiscal stimulus.

With the end of the furlough scheme looming in September and other support coming to an end, it may be that businesses which have been relying on this to stay afloat might not survive. This in turn could lead to a further increase in job losses. Until we reach this point it seems unlikely that the full picture will emerge until next year. However, the increases we are beginning to see in relation to Debt Arrangement Scheme’s may be an indicator of what is to come.


At Thomson Cooper, our continued advice to debtors worried about creditor action and increased debts, is to access the help that is available. Our recent articles on the DAS low and grow approach, Changes to Bankruptcy legislation and Extension of the Coronavirus (Scotland) Acts, highlight the updates which have been made to DAS, PTD’s and Bankruptcy to make them more accessible to everyone.

Here are the statistics from the Accountant in Bankruptcy for April 2020 to March 2021 (compared with April 2019 to March 2020)

All main points within this section are presented on a 12-month rolling basis.

• There were 7,600 personal insolvencies in the 12 months to March 2021 (inclusive), 5,891 (43.7%) fewer than in the previous 12 months.
• Bankruptcies decreased by 50.8% in the 12 months to March 2021 when compared with the previous 12 months.
• PTDs decreased by 39.8% over the same period.
• There were 3,676 approved DPPs under the Debt Arrangement Scheme in the 12 months to March 2021 compared with 3,130 for the previous 12 months, an increase of 17.4%.

And the main points for the analysis of the impact of emergency measures and new bankruptcy legislation

The introduction of new provisions on the statutory moratorium are part of emergency measures brought in by the Coronavirus (Scotland) Act 2020.

• As of 31 March 2021, 1,977 applications for moratoria had been granted under the new powers.
• There were 298 applications for moratoria granted in March 2021 under the new legislation, 217 more than in March 2020 under the previous provisions.
• A revised bankruptcy application fee structure has been introduced, initially through the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No. 2) Act 2020 and placed on permanent footing through the Bankruptcy (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Scotland) Regulations 2021.
• In the period between 27 May 2020 and 31 March 2021 a total of 1,971 bankruptcy awards were made following applications submitted to AiB, all through the revised fee structure. Of this total, 1,533 (77.8%) applicants were not required to pay any fee at all.

These figures are classed as Experimental Statistics though these were produced in accordance with the professional standards set out in the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

A full statement of Scottish Statutory Debt Solutions Statistics for March 2021 is available:
Summary of Emergency Legislation –

If you or anyone you know is currently struggling with problem debt, at Thomson Cooper we are always happy to assist.

For free advice and information please contact.

Ian Brown      ,     (m) 07519 124657


This article is intended solely as a guide for individuals and business owners in considering a suitable debt solution. It is not a definitive guide to what is a complex area of law, the impact and application of which can vary widely based on the specific facts involved.

Thomson Cooper cannot be held responsible for any errors or inaccuracies in the information provided and independent professional advice should always be sought before acting. Thomson Cooper does not make any representations or warranties, express or implied as to the accuracy, completeness or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement or other information forming any part of this presentation or its fitness or suitability for a particular purpose or use.

Category: DAS

About the author

Ian Brown

Ian Brown

Ian is an expert in the Debt Arrangement Scheme and Business Debt Arrangement Scheme, assisting individuals, sole traders and partnerships.

He also advises on personal debt solutions recommending the best option to resolve problem debt issues.

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