Update: Protected Trust Deed Regulations

New protected trust deed regulations came into force on 28 November 2013. The provisions included:

Individuals’ surplus income will have to be assessed using one tool – the common financial statement as this will provide more transparency in assessing whether a PTD is the best solution.  A minimum of 48 monthly payments will be required.

The minimum debt level for entry to a PTD will be £5000

Trustees will be able to charge a fixed fee augmented by a % of the funds ingathered

The new regulations will also provide greater transparency and control for creditors. Trustees will have to provide creditors with an annual update and provide an indication of the likely dividend during each of the four years of the deed.

For further information, please contact William Dolier, Partner.

 

Local Authority Forum 2014

What can we expect from the new Bankruptcy Bill, how will the common financial assessment tool work in practice and what strategies are being employed across Scotland to encourage citizens and businesses to pay what they owe in terms of Council Tax and Non-Domestic Rates?

These are just some of the issues and discussion points which were debated by Scottish Local Authorities, Walker Love and Claire Orr from the Accountant in Bankruptcy at Walker Love’s Local Authority Forum at the end of 2013.

The next Forum is scheduled to take place in May 2014. The agenda and guest speakers will be published on these pages shortly. To attend, send an email to Chris Bell.

If you would like to receive a copy of our Forum briefing which contains features on the new Bankruptcy and Debt Advice (Scotland) Bill, the new protected trust deed regulations, money attachments: when to use and not to use and a special focus piece on the methods, approaches and joint working arrangements that have been put in place at a Scottish Local Authority, please send Chris Bell and email and he will send a copy of the Briefing to you.

The collection strategies and tactics developed by local authorities across Scotland do differ due to their own diverse demographic and geographic differences, however there is one constant which runs through all – the key to improving collection receipts and performance is largely due to improving debtor profiling, systematic targeting and sharing intelligence with other authorities and debt recovery partners. Find out how one Local Authority has improved monies collected significantly over the last couple of years by requesting a copy of Walker Love’s Local Authority Briefing.

For further information on the Bankruptcy and Debt Advice (Scotland) Bill, which is due to come into force in April 2015 >click here.

 

 

 

Council tax collection rates improving

The Scottish Government recently announced Council Tax collection rates have improved steadily from 87.2% in 1998-99 to 91.4% in 2002-03 and now 95.1% in 2012-13.

In 2012-13, the total amount of Council Tax billed (excluding Council Tax Benefit) in Scotland was just over £2billion and of this £1.9billion was collected by 31 March 2013. The provisional Scotland total in-year CT collection rate for 2012-13 was 95.1%, the same rate as the audited figure from the previous year. Collection rates statistics for individual local authorities ranged from 93.1% to 98.1% across the 32 areas.

Between 1993-94 and 2012-13, the overall total amount of Council Tax billed in Scotland was £30.273 billion, of which £29.192 billion, or 96.4%, was collected by 31 March 2013.

For further information, visit the Scottish Government’s website >click here

 

 

New debt advice service launched for Armed Forces

Glasgow’s Helping Heroes is a new partnership to help those who are serving in the Armed Forces through the maze of advice and assistance that is available to them. The service is also available to members of the Armed Forces immediate family and carers.

If you need advice on any of the following issues call this number now: 0141-276-7199 or visit www.glasgowshelpingheroes.org or email: arlene.mochan@glasgow.gov.uk

  • Housing and homelessness
  • Employability
  • Benefits
  • Debts
  • Mental and physical health issues
  • Financial grants

All advice is FREE and CONFIDENTIAL. Glasgows Helping Heroes is a division of SSAFA Forces Glasgow Branch. Charity Nos: SCO38056, 210760.

If you are looking for additional debt advice click here

Welfare Reforms going too deep and too fast

According to Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister “these reforms are coming against the back drop of some of the biggest cuts that we have seen to the welfare system in a generation.

“(On 7th January) we saw child benefits start to be removed from many people we estimate that will affect almost 100,000 people across Scotland and of course today the UK government presses ahead with plans to put a cap on increases to benefits including the benefits for many people who are working hard in low paid jobs.

“We would estimate that the cap on benefits including tax credits will affect around 700,000 working households across Scotland.

“So clearly these are changes with a big big impact in Scotland and I think they will cause more pain for some of the most vulnerable people and families across our society who are already struggling to cope.”

Nicola Sturgeon was giving evidence to the Welfare Reform committee on the 8th January. The committee was taking evidence on the Scottish government’s passported benefits consultation.

At our last Local Forum, we heard from the Scottish Government’s Local Authority spokesman Robin Haynes on the impact on Local Authorities of council tax benefit reduction, and from Peter Meehan a Local Authority Benefit Consultant on the solutions available to Local Authorities and Housing Associations to tackle the potential impacts of welfare reform and the introduction of universal credit later this year.

If you would like a copy of the notes and presentations please contact Chris Bell, Partner, Revenue and Collections.

Occupancy Reports

Agents acting on behalf of mortgage companies are often keen to establish the current residential status of a property where arrears are accumulating.

Principally, the enquiry is to establish if the house or premises is still occupied and by who.

We can provide a report which consists of three pages and provides information including condition of the property, description of location, approximate value and any social issues that may be encountered if repossession was to proceed.

Our investigators would also comment on how secure the premises are and if there is any apparent threat or risk from water penetration, vandalism, etc. A digital photograph is also obtained which can be emailed to client.

For more information, contact Brian Walker in the first instance.