More than 30 Scots will go bankrupt every day, firm warns

French Duncan



More than 30 Scots will go bankrupt every day in 2019, according to forecasts by an accountancy firm.

Last year, approximately 12,000 people in Scotland became insolvent, the highest level since 2013, French Duncan LLP estimated.

The firm says the figure could be even higher by the end of 2019, with rising household bills, food costs and stagnating wages contributing to an estimated 230 bankruptcies each week.

Eileen Blackburn, French Duncan's head of debt advice, said: "Although employment levels are extremely high, and many individuals will have the lowest mortgage interest of their life, it is clear that for thousands of Scots there is an underlying indebtedness which they are unable to address.

"They may have acquired this debt over a period of many years but cannot do anything but pay the monthly interest. Any slight change in their circumstances and they are quickly thrown into a financially precarious position."

Approximately 7000 of the personal insolvencies last year were protected trust deeds - a voluntary, government-backed form of repayment available in Scotland - which have increased by 21.1% in the last year.

"These are often described as debt solutions for individuals with assets and jobs, so it is an indication that long-term indebtedness occurs across society among people with homes, jobs and assets but are unable to meet punitive interest rates on historic debt," Ms Blackburn said.

Construction, retail and casual dining made up 41.6% of all business bankruptcies in the first three quarters of 2018, with Brexit uncertainty and the continued decline of high-street shopping claimed to increase the risk for firms in the year ahead.

Ms Blackburn added: "The concern is that we have both rising personal and corporate insolvencies at a time when the economy is relatively benign, personal and corporate lending is cheap, and unemployment is low.

"Under these circumstances you would expect insolvencies to be falling. That they are rising quite rapidly in both personal and corporate is a worry for the coming years as more Scottish individuals and firms will go bust."

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