New Coronavirus Bill to introduce more support for people in debt

A new Coronavirus Bill that will bring in new measures to protect people in debt was passed by the Scottish Parliament yesterday.

The Coronavirus (Scotland) (No 2) Bill will complement the initial legislation introduced last month, and includes a series of changes to the bankruptcy process in Scotland that will help to reduce the financial impact of coronavirus for people in debt.

These new measures include increasing the minimum debt threshold for a creditor petition from £3,000 to £10,000 and increasing the maximum level of debt in MAP (Minimal Asset Process) bankruptcies from £17,000 to £25,000 (excluding student loans).

An amendment proposed by Jackie Baillie MSP was also approved, and will see fees for MAP and full administration bankruptcies waived for those on a benefits-based income.

Other changes that the Bill will introduce include reducing bankruptcy fees for those not eligible for a full fee waiver: from £90 to £50 for MAP bankruptcy, and £200 to £150 for full administration. The financial impact of COVID-19 will undoubtedly continue long after the public health emergency eases and the changes introduced by the Bill will help alleviate some of the pressure so many people are experiencing.

The measures introduced are temporary and Scottish ministers will review and report on these every 2 months. As well as changes relating to bankruptcy in Scotland, the Bill also includes measures relating to social care, criminal procedure, and public services. Full details of the Bill can be found on the Scottish Parliament website.