Debt Solutions if you're in Scotland

There are a number of options if you’re struggling with your debts in Scotland, including both formal and informal solutions.

Trust Deed

Similar to an IVA, a Trust Deed in Scotland allows you to combine your unsecured debts and make one affordable monthly payment for the duration of the scheme. Once complete, the remainder of your debts are written off.

You may want to consider a Trust Deed if:

  • You have a disposable income to use towards monthly payments
  • You have at least £5,000 worth of debt
  • You have assets that you are able to sell to cover your debts
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Protected vs. Unprotected

A Trust Deed may become ‘Protected,’ meaning that all your creditors will be bound to its terms whether they agreed to it or not. Whereas a Trust Deed is unprotected when the majority of creditors do not agree to the terms (less than 75%), meaning that they can still contact you directly to recover money owed to them directly.

Advantages of a Trust Deed

  • A Trust Deed will typically last around 4 years, after which remaining debt will be written off
  • They do not involve court proceedings to set up
  • Your debts will be combined into one affordable monthly payment
  • If protected, none of your creditors can chase you for your money

Disadvantages of a Trust Deed

  • If this remains unprotected, then certain creditors will still be able to contact you in order to recover the money you owe them
  • You may lose your assets such as your house if they are able to be sold in order to cover costs to your creditors
  • Your credit score will be negatively impacted for 6 years from the date that you enter the scheme

Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS)

A Debt Arrangement Scheme is a formal solution backed by the Scottish Government.

Under the scheme, you set up a Debt Repayment Plan (DPP) that consists of one affordable monthly payment. If you are wishing to apply for this, then an official money advisor will need to apply for this on your behalf.

A DAS may be an option if:

  • You have a steady amount of disposable income left over each month to pay towards your debts once you have covered your necessary spending
  • You are looking to pay your debts off in full through one affordable monthly payment
  • You are worried about losing your home and assets through other solutions
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Advantages of a DAS:

  • You would not be required to sell your assets to pay towards your debts
  • Creditors will freeze your interest and charges for the duration of the scheme
  • Gets you in a repayment plan, by the end of which your debts will be repaid in full
  • As a formal scheme, a DAS means that both you and your creditors will have legal protection

Disadvantages of a DAS:

  • Your plan will last as long as it takes for you to pay off your debts, which may be longer than other plans
  • You will agree to pay your debts off in full, so it’s unlikely that any will be written off for you by your creditors

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Low and Grow Scheme

As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, the Scottish government introduced the Low and Grow Debt Arrangement Scheme in 2021.

This scheme aims to help those who are temporarily experiencing short term financial difficulties.

It involves an official money advisor applying to your creditors on your behalf to request that you can reduce your payment to them. This lasts for 3 months, after which your financial circumstances will be reassessed in order to determine whether an extension is needed.

As this is a short term solution, it is not intended to exceed 6 months.

Sequestration

Sequestration in Scotland is a similar process to Bankruptcy.

In this scheme, your finances are controlled by a Trustee, who may sell your assets in order to pay back creditors. The fee to apply for sequestration is £150, and this is paid to the Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB), who conducts personal bankruptcies in Scotland.

If you owe £10,000 or more, your creditors can apply for you to be made bankrupt themselves.

Sequestration may be an option for you if:

  • You have little or no means of making regular repayments to your creditors
  • You are in at least £3,000 of debt
  • You have assets that can be sold in order to cover your debts
Check if you qualify
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Advantages of Sequestration

  • The process usually lasts one year, after which your debts will be written off
  • It will put an end to creditors chasing you for money
  • Most debts can be written off with sequestration. There are a few exceptions, such as debts taken out fraudulently, student loans and court fines

Disadvantages of Sequestration

  • Your assets – such as your home- may be sold in order to pay your creditors
  • Whilst the process lasts one years, the sequestration will be reflected negatively on your credit file for 6 years
  • You have to pay an application fee of £150 in full before your application can be considered

Minimal Asset Process Bankruptcy (MAP)

MAP Bankruptcy is a scheme similar to sequestration, but aimed at consumers with minimal assets and low income. If eligible, you may be able to get unaffordable debts written off.

MAP Bankruptcy may be an option for you if:

  • You have little to no disposable income once your necessary costs have been covered, or rely solely on benefits
  • You have debts totalling somewhere between £1,500 and £25,000
  • You are not a homeowner, your car is worth less than £3,000, and you have no other assets worth more than £1,000
Check if you qualify
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Advantages of MAP

The fee to apply is £50, which is smaller than the alternative sequestration route
You can see your eligible debts written off once the scheme is completed
It will put a stop to creditors chasing you for the money that you owe
It lasts 6 months, as opposed to 12 months with sequestration

Disadvantages of MAP

Your application will not be considered until the fee has been paid in full
Your credit rating will be poorly impacted for up to 6 years following the commencing of the scheme
The criteria is more specific than other solutions, meaning not as many consumers will be able to qualify compared to sequestration and other solutions

Money Advice

We offer support across the UK.

Whilst we primarily deal with consumers in England and Wales, feel free to reach out to us if you are seeking support for your debts and we will do all that we can to help.

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*To find out more about managing your money and getting free advice, visit Money Helper, independent service set up to help people manage their money.