West Dunbartonshire - Scottish problem debt hotspot
Statistics from the AiB show uptake of statutory debt solutions in each of the 32 Scottish local authority areas varies substantially.
Statistics released by the Accountant in Bankruptcy show that West Dunbartonshire has the highest rate of bankruptcies and protected trust deeds of all local authority areas in Scotland during 2015/16. West Dunbartonshire tops the table for the 5th consecutive year in relation to bankruptcies with 16.38 per 10,000 of the adult population being declared bankrupt during the year.
Almost the same number (16.11 per 10,000 of the adult population) entered a voluntary protected trust deed (PTD) during the same period in the local authority area. When debt rescheduling through the Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) is taken into account, nearly 40 adults per 10,000 population have taken steps in 2015/16 to deal with problem debt – 7 more per 10,000 than in the next highest local authority area of South Lanarkshire – making West Dunbartonshire the problem debt hotspot of Scotland.
South Lanarkshire and Fife were the only other local authority areas to see more than 30 per 10,000 adults enter debt solutions during the year.
Na h-Eileanan Siar saw the lowest rates of PTDs and DAS and second lowest rate of bankruptcies to make it the local authority area which saw the least number of problem debt solutions being used. At just over 7 per 10,000 of the adult population the number of people in Na h-Eileanan Siar entering a debt solution was more than 5 times fewer than in West Dunbartonshire.
The bankruptcy rate decreased in all 32 local authority areas with Renfrewshire seeing the largest drop where the rate decreased by nearly 63% from 17.33 in 2014/15 to 6.43 in 2015/16. Overall, the bankruptcy rate in Scotland dropped by 44% dropped from 15 to 8 per 10,000 of the adult population.
View Bankruptcy Statistics - 2015/16
|15||Perth & Kinross||14.78||7.34|
|19||Argyll & Bute||10.66||6.52|
|20||Dumfries & Galloway||16.90||6.51|
|25||Edinburgh, City of||10.11||5.91|
PTDs tended to be concentrated on local authority areas in the central belt of Scotland with only East Dunbartonshire and the City of Edinburgh showing relatively low PTD rates within the central belt.
The PTD rate increased in 24 of the 32 local authority areas although overall in Scotland the number of adults entering a PTD remained relatively static at 10.56 in 2015/16 compared to 10.00 in 2014/15 per 10,000 of the adult population.
View Protected Trust Deeds (PTDs) Statistics - 2015/16
|17||Dumfries & Galloway||7.54||8.97|
|21||Argyll & Bute||7.83||8.42|
|24||Perth & Kinross||8.03||7.74|
|30||Edinburgh, City of||6.52||6.70|
Fife saw the largest rate of DAS with 7.76 per 10,000 of the adult population taking steps to reschedule debt. This was nearly 70% higher than the national average. Overall, the DAS rate halved from 9.37 to 4.58 per 10,000 of the adult population, with a decrease seen in all 32 local authority areas.
View Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) Statistics 2015/16
|06||Argyll & Bute||7.29||6.52|
|07||Dumfries & Galloway||8.81||5.64|
|22||Perth & Kinross||7.87||3.43|
|24||Edinburgh, City of||6.06||3.24|
The analysis of the use of debt solutions by local authority gives a very mixed picture. While the overall trends across Scotland are broadly similar there are some interesting variations looking at the local authority areas individually.
Inverclyde, Renfrewshire, and South Ayrshire for example seem to have a high propensity for adults to choose a PTD over other debtor solutions. Conversely adults in the Highlands and Angus seem much more likely to enter bankruptcy.
Adults in Moray and Argyle and Bute are much more likely to enter a DAS with nearly one third of all those entering a statutory debt solution choosing this route.
There does not appear to be any obvious factors as to why the debt solutions of choice vary so substantially from one local authority area to another. Undoubtedly factors such as access to debt advice, social perception and even ‘neighbour recommendation’ will have an influence however more detailed interrogation and research would be required to fully understand the emerging patterns.