The Scottish Parliament’s Economy, Energy and Fair Work’s Committee have now released their Report into the Scottish Government’s draft Common Financial Tool Regulations.
The recommendations of the Committee are that the Scottish Government should not re-lay the Regulations until there has been:
- A full review of the use of the Common Financial Tool, including
- Engagement with the advice sector and debtors; and
- Research into what is a reasonable standard of living.
The full report can be found here.
Background to Common Financial Tool
The Common Financial Tool is the mechanism with which it is decided how much Scottish consumers should pay towards their debts in Bankruptcies, Protected Trust Deeds and the Debt Arrangement Scheme.
They have been controversial and concerns have been raised they may not allow Scots to sustain a reasonable standard of living, which the Scottish Government has disputed. For more information on the background to the dispute read Standard Financial Statement: Is it fit for purpose?
The Scottish Government initially laid the regulations to adopt the Standard Financial Statement in June 2018, but these were withdrawn after the Parliamentary summer recess because of timing issues.
The regulations were then re-laid, but after evidence was given by various organisations, including money advisers, the regulations were withdrawn again, although the Minister did indicate in a letter to stakeholders he hoped to relay the regulations so they could commence by April 2019.
Evidence provided by Money Advice Scotland, R3, The Money Advice Service and the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland.
Evidence provided by Aberdeen Council, East Renfrewshire Council, Inverclyde Council and WRI Associates.
Evidence provided by the Accountant in Bankruptcy and the Minister, Jamie Hepburn.
However, after the Parliamentary Committee discussed the matter in private on the 8th January, they are now recommending the adoption of the Standard Financial Statement be delayed for at least a year.
To read the Committee’s letter to the Minister dated the 10th January 2019, see here.
To see all the evidence and submissions relating to the Common Financial Tool, see the Economy, Energy and Fair Work Committee page on it here.