What is the Debt Arrangement Scheme?

The Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) is a Scottish Government Scheme for those who are in debt and need a bit more time to repay their debts.

It is not a type of bankruptcy and should not put your home or car at risk.

The main benefits of the Scheme are:

  • It is free to apply for and you will not have to pay private management fees.
  • Every penny you pay goes to reducing how much you owe.
  • It freezes all interest and charges on your debts from the day you make your application.
  • Even if Creditors object it can be approved.
  • Your are protected from Sheriff Officers during it and Creditors cannot make you bankrupt.
  • You only make one affordable payment each month.
  • If you earning are being arrested, it recalls this as soon as it is approved.

The Debt Arrangement Scheme is for people that want to repay their debts in full.

It has many other benefits.

Who is the Debt Arrangement Scheme suitable for?

The Scheme is suitable for people who live in Scotland and cannot pay their debts as they fall due. This normally means people who cannot make minimum contractual payments to their debts.

The Debt Arrangement Scheme is particularly suitable for people who have assets, such as a home, that they want to protect and, therefore, don’t want to go bankrupt or sign a Trust Deed.

Do you have to include all your Debts?

When you apply for a Debt Payment Programme (DPP) under the Debt Arrangement Scheme, you can decide whether to include all your debts or whether to exclude certain debts. The type of debts you can leave out are rent and mortgage arrears. This can let you enter into a separate agreement with your Landlord or Mortgage provider so they don’t try and evict you or repossess your home.

DAS Calculator

Duration of DAS (Months)
Years It Will Take To Be Debt Free:
Total Interest Paid To Lender:

Can Creditors stop you entering the Debt Arrangement Scheme?

Creditors are allowed a say when you propose a Debt Payment Programme. They are told you are making a proposal and they then are given three weeks to respond.

If Creditors don’t respond, it is assumed they have agreed to your proposal.

If creditors object, but in total they have less than 10% of your total debt, the case is automatically approved.

If those that object have more than 10% of your total debt, then your application is considered under a “fair and reasonable” test that is administered by the Debt Arrangement Scheme Administrator.

If he finds that a proposal is fair and reasonable he can set aside the objections and approve the programme.

Other Benefits of the Debt Arrangement Scheme

In addition to the benefits listed above, if during a programme you suffer a crisis, they you can request a crisis break from your money adviser. Up to two one-month payment breaks are allowed in any 12 month rolling period.

If someone has a more long-term drop in income and loses over 50% of their income, they can obtain a payment break for up to six month, whilst still remaining in their programme.

Where their circumstances permanently change for the better or worse, they can apply for a variation to change what they are paying.

Statutory Moratoriums

Another benefit of the Debt arrangement Scheme is you are able to apply for a Statutory Moratoriums.

This is a legal process that protects you from Sheriff Officers or creditors who are trying to  make you bankrupt.

When someone believes they may be in imminent danger of a creditor taking enforcement action against them or someone raising a petition for their bankruptcy, they can intimate to the DAS Administrator an intention to apply to the Scheme.

You can only do this once every 12 months, but where the process is used, under current Covid 19 rules you receive 6 months protection. This allows you time to submit an application for a DPP. These emergency rules allowing applications for 6 months protection are in place until the 31st March 2022.

Avoiding Bankruptcy

However, the benefits of the Scheme do not stop there.

Where a creditor is trying to make you bankrupt and raises an application in the Court, you can ask the sheriff to continue this hearing.

This puts the bankruptcy hearing on hold and allows an application for a DPP to be made.

If the Debt Payment Programme is approved, you cannot be made bankrupt.

Another benefit of a DPP, is where a creditor has arrested a your wages, if the DPP is approved, the wage arrestment stops.

How do you Apply to enter the Debt Arrangement Scheme?

You cannot apply for the Debt Arrangement Scheme yourself.

Applications must be made by an Approved Money Adviser or a licensed Insolvency Practitioner.

They must advise you on the suitability of the Scheme and must draft a financial statement with you to see what you can afford to pay.

However, if they believe the DAS would be appropriate they can then confirm what how much you owe and submit an application to the DAS Administrator.

The creditors then get three weeks to consider the proposals. There can be two outcomes:

  • First, the Creditors don’t respond in those three weeks. If this occurs, they are considered to have agreed to the proposal.
  • Second, some creditors object. The DAS Administrator then has to decide whether the plan meets the fair and reasonable test (unless those that object have less than 10% of your total debt, in which case it is approved).

If the Debt Arrangement Scheme Administrator believes it does meet the test, your plan is approved.

When a DPP is approved?

Once a Debt Payment Programme is approved, you are then allocated a Payment Distributor.

These are companies who administer the money you pay and pay your creditors for you.

They charge a fee of 20% for this, but it is not you that pays this. Legally the fee is charged to your creditors. This is why the service is free to you.

The Debt Arrangement Scheme Administrator also charges a fee of 2%, but again this is paid by your creditors.

Once a Programme is approved you have 42 days to make your first payment to the payment distributor. After that, you continue making your payments at regular intervals until your debt is paid off.

Each year your Adviser will contact you to review your circumstances and ensure the Debt Arrangement Scheme is still the correct option for you.

More on the Debt Arrangement Scheme

How will the DAS affect my Credit Score?

The Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) will damage your credit reference score. This is because when you enter the DAS, your name is added to a public register and this information is shared with Credit Reference Agencies. In addition to this, as you are no longer making your contractual payments, you will go into arrears and this will be recorded on your credit reference file. DAS, however,  is intended for people who cannot manage their monthly payments each month and, therefore, will likely have damaged credit scores already. They may even have had Notice of Arrears or Default Notices served on them.

How else can the Debt Arrangement Scheme affect my ability to obtain credit?

The DAS can affect your ability to obtain credit in other ways too. As mentioned above, once you go into the Scheme your name is added to a public register and lenders can check if you are on it before they lend to you. Also, when you are in the Debt Arrangement Scheme, you are obliged to inform creditors if you borrow more than £2,000.  Or where you have already borrowed £1,000, when you try and borrow any amount.

Can my Credit Score improve whilst I am in the Debt Arrangement Scheme?

Your Credit Score can improve whilst your in the Debt Arrangement Scheme. Your accounts will, however, still show as being in arrears throughout your Programme until they are paid off.  After they are paid off they will show as being as settled. This means your debts have been paid off in full. However, six years after your accounts go into default, they will disappear off your Credit Reference Files. Your Credit Score may, therefore, improve during your Debt Payment Programme where it lasts longer than six years.

When will my account go into default on my credit file?

When accounts go into default it is for lenders to notify the credit reference agencies. Some firms may report your account in default after three months of missed payments, whilst others may wait six months. It depends on their own rules. Some may also serve a formal Default Notice under the Consumer Credit Act 1974. It may be possible to argue with your lender that the default date should be backdated to the date that your Debt Payment Programme was approved, as arguably at that point you formally indicated you were no longer able to meet your obligations under your agreement.  This argument may be stronger where the creditor agreed to the Debt Payment Programme. If possible, this would mean any record of your Debt Payment Programme, or the accounts you defaulted on, should disappear off your credit reference file six years after you enter into the Debt Payment Programme.    

What is the Debt Arrangement Scheme Register?

The Debt Arrangement Scheme Register (DAS Register) is an official register that contains information about Debt Payment Programmes under the Debt Arrangement Scheme.

You can access the Register here.

It is publicly available to search: however, to search the Debt Arrangement Scheme Register, you must know the full name and date of birth of the person you are searching for. This is to prevent people trawling the DAS Register for name s without having a legitimate purpose.

The DAS Register contains a variety of different types of information:

  • The name and address and who are in the Scheme;
  • Who has applied for a Debt Payment Programme under the DAS;
  • Whose Debt Payment Programme has been approved;
  • Whose Debt Payment Programme has been revoked;
  • Whether a Debt Payment Programme has been varied;
  • Who is requesting a review or appeal of the decision to revoke their Debt Payment Programme;

Can you keep your name off the Debt Arrangement Scheme Register?

It many be possible, in certain circumstances, to keep your name off the DAS Register, if the Debt Arrangement Scheme Administrator believes including you on it could put you at risk of violence or endanger your welfare or security, or that of anyone else.

However, it must be borne in mind there are two primary reasons why your name is included on the Register:

  • First it protects you from Sheriff Officers who may want to take recovery action against you, as they can search the Register before doing so; and
  • Two, It also protects lenders, as they can see whether you are on the Register before they lend to you;

Retention of Information on the DAS Register

The Debt Arrangement Scheme Administrator manages the information kept on the DAS Register in accordance with the Accountant in Bankruptcy policies on how that information should be used.

This means:

  • Completed Debt Payment Programmes are deleted from the DAS Register the day after they are completed;
  • Rejected Debt Payment Programme proposals  are deleted from the DAS Register on the 15th day following the date of decision being made (this is because you have 14 days to decide if you want to appeal the decision to reject your application);
  • Revoked Debt Payment Programmes are deleted from the DAS Register on the 15th day from the decision being made, unless a request for a review has been received within 14 days of the decision being made;
  • If a review has been requested, 15 days after the review decision has been made, unless there is an appeal submitted to the Court;
  • If a case is appealed to the Court and the Court upholds the original decision to revoke the Debt Payment Programme,

What happens if you cannot pay your Debt Arrangement Scheme?

What if you cannot pay your Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS)? This may happen If you lose your job or suffer an income drop. You may then struggle to maintain payments to your programme.

If this does happen, the last thing you want to do is ignore it. It is understood that when in a repayment programme, it is possible you will experience changes in your circumstances and,  either temporarily or permanently, you may not be able to maintain the original payments you proposed.

The Debt Arrangement Scheme offers two options that can help in this situation and may help you having your Debt Payment Programme (DPP) revoked. The first of these is a formal payment break and the second is applying for a formal variation of your scheme.

If you do miss payments and don’t have the approval of the Debt Arrrangement Scheme Administrator, this can have severe consequences for you. Either the DAS Administrator or one of your creditors can  apply for your DPP to be revoked. If  a creditor or the DAS Administrator is proposing your DPP is revoked, you will be notified and allowed to submit your reasons why it shouldn’t be.

If you DPP is revoked, not only do you lose all the protections of the Scheme, but creditors can reapply any interest, charges, fees and penalties. This means you will have lost the benefits of the Scheme for the time you have been in it. If you reapply, the fact you had a DPP that was revoked can be held against you.

Return to the main Debt Arrangement Scheme Homepage…

Payment holidays in the Debt Arrangement Scheme?

Where you cannot maintain your payments, because you have experienced a change in circumstances, you may be able to apply for a variation, which could allow you to reduce your payments. Alternatively, you may want to apply for a payment break, which can be allowed for up to 6 months in certain circumstances. Payment breaks are allowed providing you can show your disposable income has dropped by more than 50%.

What is the Business Debt Arrangement Scheme?

Certain types of Scottish businesses that are struggling with debt have the option of now applying for a Debt Payment Programme under the Business Debt Arrangement Scheme.

Who can apply to the Business Debt Arrangement Scheme?

The types of persons that can access the Business Debt Arrangement Scheme are partnerships, limited partnerships within the meaning of the Limited Partnership Act 1907, corporate bodies (other than bodies registered under the Companies Act 2006), trusts and unincorporated bodies of persons.

Sole traders are not able to apply to the Business Debt Arrangement Scheme, but can apply to the normal Debt Arrangement Scheme as individuals.

Where applications are made by partnerships, all partners must agree to the application; where it is a  limited partnership that applies, all general partners will have to consent, as will limited partners, where they have, at any time, been involved in the management of the business.

Only a majority of trustees will be required to consent to an application for a trust to apply, and in the case of corporate and unincorporated bodies, applications will be made by a nominated person authorised to act on behalf of the body.

Like the Debt Arrangement Scheme for individuals, all applications need to be made by a money adviser, but the definition of who constitutes a money adviser is limited to a licensed insolvency practitioner, who in making any proposals, has to make a declaration of viability for the business.

Benefits of the Business Debt Arrangement Scheme

The primary benefit of the Business Debt Arrangement Scheme  is that it closes a gap in Scots law that allows a number of different legal persons to be subject to creditor petitions for bankruptcy and diligence, but does not provide them with the same protection that is available to individuals, limited liability partnerships and companies registered under the Companies Act 2006.

It further extends these protections to the individuals involved in the business, where they are also liable for the business’s debts, in that one of the effects of a proposal being approved is that the protections will also cover them for their business debt liability.

Business DAS is a rescue procedure and provides businesses with a lifeline where they are at the latter stages of creditors taking recovery action through the courts and demanding ransom payments; but importantly also tempers that protection by ensuring it is only available to those businesses that are viable and can remedy their distress within five years.

It even provides a lifeline to businesses that are only able to pay interest on debts, in that programmes will freeze interest and write it off on the successful completion of a programme, whilst the capital amounts are repaid.

Approval of Business Debt Payment Programmes

Proposals under the scheme operate like current proposals under the existing scheme, but applications are only possible where the business can complete the proposed repayment plan within five years.

Businesses are also able to use the Statutory Moratorium procedure that gives them six week protection from their creditors, during which period, creditors are not able to execute diligence or raise petitions for the sequestration of the business.

The benefit of Statutory Moratoriums is it provides distressed businesses with a vital breathing space, during which they can explore the viability of any programme before making an application. Where petitions for sequestration have been raised, sheriffs will also have the option of not making an award immediately, to allow an application to the  Business Debt Arrangement Scheme to proceed.

It is also possible to compel creditors to participate in a programme: even where they object, if the Debt Arrangement Scheme administrator finds the proposals fair and reasonable, all interest, charges, penalties and other fees on debts are frozen from the point the application is made.

Once approved, programmes will provide for payments to be made through a payment distributor, with the cost of the payment distribution being a cost for the creditors.

Return to Debt Arrangement Scheme Homepage


Readers Questions

  1. Mo

    Hi again, following on from my previous comment I have another question re the company that failed to record default after entering a DAS.
    Their account rectification team sent me a letter in July 23 to say that they had made an error on my credit card and had continues to charge me interest and or fees after they sent me a default notice in July 2015. In their letter they said that they had reduced my payment by c£90 to cover the balance on my account. However, I settled the DAS in full in August 22 and I challenged this and told them I had paid in full (including my completion certificate). I pointed out that they couldn’t pursue me for the balance as this is probably the amount that they agreed to pay for the administration (hopefully that is correct?) and pointed to the info on the completion certificate including the relevant legislation/regulation and the point it is unlawful to collect a debt that was included in a DPP.
    They are adamant that although they had written this amount off they are still entitled to charge me for it and take it off money that they owe me for their errors.
    AM I flogging a dead horse here or is it worth sticking to my guns and challenge this further? If so what should I point them to that I haven’t already.

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi again Mo

      In relation to your second point, I would make a complaint to the Credit Card formally then escalate to the FOS if they don’t resolve it within 8 weeks. You are correct. They are not allowed to recover any interest or charges or fees that they apply on your debts after it was approved and after you have received a certificate of completion. If they are trying to recover the statutory fees that were applied to pay for the DAS (which would only be up to 8% of everything you paid to the Payment Distributor and 2% of everything you paid to them through the DAS, which is an application fee) then the legislation is clear, this is a statutory charge on them and they are not allowed to recover this from you. Its a liability that is imposed on them by the Debt Arrangement Scheme (Scotland) Regulations 2011. Regulation 5 and 17 https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2011/141/contents/made

  2. Mo

    Hi there, hoping you can help me with a query as I’ve been battling this for over a year and getting nowhere. I entered a DAS in Aug 2015 and on checking my credit file early last year I noted that the majority of creditors had correctly recorded defaults and these were no longer showing on my credit file (older than 6 years). 1 creditor whom I had 2 accounts with had not only never recorded a default date, but the 2 accounts were showing as active accounts with 6 months worth of late/missed payments going back years and no mention of being in a DAS.
    I complained in July 22 and asked for them to record a default date backdated to 2015. They apologised that the accounts had been left as active in error and that they would need to to trigger default letters from their insolvency system. A year later this still hasn’t happened. I got a copy of my data via a GDPR request and it is clear that defaults were recorded for both accounts for July 2015. It would appeared that when they migrated to new systems in 2018 my accounts somehow got stuck hence why they then showed as active.
    I also paid off the DAS in full at the end of Aug 22 and whilst they did move the accounts from active to closed/settled they still haven’t properly dealt with the issue of the backdated default date. So these 2 accounts are still on my record and whilst showing settled they both show 6 months of late payments, despite being in a DAS and all payments made. I’ve been dealing with FOS but they tell me that the financial institution has told them that they have updated the records in November 22. In my opinion it is still wrong as they didn’t deal with my original complaint about default dates which I raised as a GDPR right to rectification request (July 22).
    Where on earth do I go next as this is impacting my record and will do for at least another 5 years. ICO complaint?
    Thoughts very welcome.
    I have another issue to ask but will do so in another comment thread.

    1. Scottish Adviser Post author

      Hi Mo.
      In relation to the first point you raised. You could take it to the ICO or even dispute with Experian that the information they hold on you is accurate, as ultimately you have evidence from your GDPR search that the account was put into default in 2015, so you credit reference file should reflect that. I would maybe start with disputing the information held by Experian.

  3. Dave

    I’ve been in das since 2017 and I just so happened to check my credit file yesterday to see the status of the accounts. All but one defaulted me in 2017, barclaycard have instead marked me as ‘arrears 1’ every month since. Would this suggest they haven’t been updating the credit file and the previous months status is just copied over. The reason I ask is defaults fall off after seven years but with barclaycards current status on my file it would fall off 7 years after the last payment which would affect my credit until 2030 which seems a bit excessive.

    1. Scottish Adviser

      Hi Dave

      Essentially, entering a Debt Arrangement Scheme acts like a default, as does entering Bankruptcy and Protected Trust Deeds. The UK Information Commissioner provides Creditors with guidance on this (see here).
      Essentially, you should contact Barclaycard and request they update your Credit Reference File to ensure it is accurate and show your date of Default as the date you entered the DAS. If they refuse to, you can raise a complaint and ultimately take it to the Information Commissioner.

  4. Ellis

    Hello, I am currently in a new DAS it was set up in January. I have made 2 payments and the furlough from work and that I had to do a crisis break, but will be paying again this month. Today though I received a letter to say my wages are being arrested from my work for debts that are included in the plan. Why has this happened?

    1. Scottish Adviser

      Hi Ellis

      It shouldn’t have happened, although sometimes these things do happen at the beginning of a Debt Payment Programme because lenders have not updated all their departments etc.

      Also, the fact you have had to take two crisis breaks at the outset may also have also led to a misunderstanding (I am given the Creditor the benefit of the doubt).

      Contact the Organisation that set up the Debt Arrangement Scheme and ask they contact the lender on your behalf and as your money adviser and request not only the wage arrestment is stopped, but the funds taken are repaid to you.

      There was no lawful basis for this earning arrestment to have proceeded if the debt has been included into the Debt Arrangement Scheme.

      Also make sure any Sheriff Officer fees are not added to your debt.

      1. Ellis

        Ah ok thank you. It was only the one crisis break for the month of April. I’m just really confused. The financial advisor that set it up is on holiday just now so hopefully I get an email back soon. Thanks

  5. Aly

    Hi there,

    My DAS started in March 2011 and was paid off in October 2017.

    Capital one have never defaulted the account and missed payments are still showing with the last being April 2017 and the account is showing as settled on 28/12/17. On Experian balance is showing as 0, status code is showing 6 throughout the 6 years and was last updated on 7/1/18.

    I’ve also noticed that a BOS loan, which again was paid through the DAS, is showing as status code 4 (previously 5, 6 and 0 throughout the last 6 years) with a £1317 balance last updated on 1/11/15. BOS has no settlement date.

    My questions are:

    Is it worth contacting Capital One and BOS to change to have a default date added? My understanding is that Capital One will not drop off my score until January 2024 and I’m not sure if BOS should drop off this year if it shows no settlement date shown.

    I have a one year plan in place to save for a mortgage so trying to get my credit files in order as best as I can before then.

    1. Scottish Adviser

      Hi Aly

      A default on your credit reference file is different from a formal default notice under the Consumer Credit Act, which has it’s own effects and purposes.

      On a Credit Reference file importantly it is also the date the six years begins to run, from which any information about that debt should be removed from your account.

      Essentially, a default for the purposes of a Credit Reference File can mean when you entered a formal debt solution, like a Debt Payment Programme under the Debt Arrangement Scheme, a Protected Trust Deed or a Bankruptcy. In the case of the Debt Arrangement Scheme you can, therefore, ask creditors to correct any information they have shared or not shared with any credit reference agencies that they share information with.

      Is it worth doing this? Well yes, if you want any information about these debts removed from your credit reference files sooner than later. It’s not to say you won’t get credit if you don’t. You may well. The decision to lend or not is a creditors and they take into consideration lots of different information. Having missed payments on your Credit Reference file does not mean you won’t be able to borrow.

      However, I would at the very least want to make sure creditors show on your Credit Reference files that the debts were satisfied and there are no outstanding balances.

      The best way to do this is to get a copy of your Completion Certificate for the DAS from your Payment Distributor or money adviser and send a copy to the creditor and ask they update the information they share with Credit Reference Agencies to show the debt is now satisfied and that no balance is outstanding. If you also want , that they show the date of default as the date you entered the DAS (unless they are already showing an earlier default date).

      In terms of applying for mortgages, I unfortunately cannot give any advice in relation to this. It will depend on various factors and would only suggest if you want specialist advice about that, speak with a Qualified Mortgage Broker.

      1. aly

        Thank you so much for your quick reply.

        If I get in touch with BOS and ask them to change the settlement date would this be a date of this year? I worry that doing this may do more harm than good in the long run. Should it be off my credit report in November this year if the last update was November 2015 or as there is still a balance/still open this will continue to be on my file?

        I have been in touch with a mortgage adviser who has advised that next year would be best as my husband paid off his DAS just over a year ago and to get better rates we need him to be out of it for 2 years.

        Thanks again,


        1. Scottish Adviser

          Hi Aly

          I am not able to say how any creditor may view your credit file and score, as they all use their own algorithms.

          However, what I can say is you are entitled to ask that the information being recorded on your credit reference file is correct. This responsibility primarily rests on the lender.

          So if you defaulted when you entered the DAS, you are entitled to ask that date is the one used on your file. Clearly if they have already marked it as such using an earlier date, I would leave it as it will come off sooner. However, if they have used a later date I would insist it is backdated, so it comes off your file sooner.

          Equally, if your account is satisfied and they are showing a balance still owing, I would insist that is updated to show it is satisfied. The satisfied date should be the date it was satisfied, so the date that is on your completion certificate for the Debt Arrangement Scheme. It should not be the date the correction was made.

          This page from the Information Commissioners Office is really good and may help.

  6. Pamela

    I ran up council tax arrears and was sequestrated by the council, I did the same again and wasn’t sequestrated again, I know this sounds awful but I have bipolar disorder and severe anxiety disorder so I tend to not deal with stuff, I just ignore it. I have just had mail from the council advising me they are now chasing my partner for the backdated council tax, but he didn’t live with me for several of those years, I don’t know where to turn and it’s making me ill, unfortunately I can only see one way out

    1. Scottish Adviser

      Hi Pamela

      I am sorry to hear about your situation. It certainly is not a bad a situation as you fear. If you are feeling down, please speak to your GP or family and friends.

      I can assure you this situation can be resolved.

      First, let’s deal with your Partner. If he can show where he was living at the specified periods and provide evidence, from bank statements or a tenancy agreement, or even better that he was liable for Council Tax elsewhere, then it may be possible to remove his liability from this council tax debt.

      In terms of your own situation, have you ever sought advice. If not you should. Click on this link: Find you Local Advice Agency.

      Your local Advice Agency should be able to provide your partner with some assistance as to how he can challenge his liability.

      Also you may be able to challenge your own liability. You may be entitled to a Severe Mental Impairment Exemption or discount (25% where you live with someone else), so you are not liable for Council Tax.

      You can find out more about this by visiting your local Council Website (see here).

      Even if not your local advice agency will be be able to give you advice on how to deal with this debt and also provide you with assistance.

      Trust me, nothing you have told me is insurmountable, so please don’t despair and contact your local advice agency and let them help you.

  7. Claire

    A decree was granted upon myself 6 years ago in relation to store card debt (in Scotland). The authority to arrest wages was subsequently granted upon my former employer, however I had been self employed for a couple of months prior to the decree being granted. As a result, my wages were not arrested as it was not possible to do so.
    Furthermore, I had consolidated some other debt as part of a DAS and as far as I was aware this store card debt had been included in the same. However, phone calls have recently been made to my workplace (where I remain self employed) requesting to speak to me about this debt. My DAS was cleared some time ago. I have not received any paperwork in relation to this from the Court or Sheriff Officers etc following the notice that decree had been granted 6 years ago.
    Am I still liable to pay this store card debt?

    1. Scottish Adviser

      Hi Claire
      As the Debt Arrangement Scheme is not a form of insolvency, only those debts included in it are covered by it.
      The important thing is to ascertain what debts were in the Debt Arrangement Scheme and which were paid.
      To do this go back to the Money Advice Agency that put you into the Debt Arrangement Scheme and ask them what debts were included. Most agencies will retain your data for up to six years after your case closes.
      If you cannot get in touch with them, contact the Payment Distributor who made the payments and ask they provide you with a record of all payments made for you and to whom.
      You are entitled to all this information for free, so it anyone says there is a Charge, ask for it by making a Subject Access Request under the Data Protection Act 2018.
      If the Debt was included and has been paid, provide the evidence to the Debt collectors and ask they update their records. If they refuse to do so, make a formal complaint and say the debt has been satisfied and paid in full as per the rules and Regulations governing the Debt Arrangement Scheme.
      Ultimately, if they still won’t stop trying to recover the debt, make a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
      If the debt was not included, ultimately you may have to pay it.
      However, ask why it wasn’t included if you can show you did provide details of it, as it should have been.
      The best advice is to go back to your money adviser, or another one, if they are not there anymore, and ask for their assistance.
      They should be able to help you investigate this and deal with it.

  8. Helen

    My partner has his wages arrested for our council tax and we thought that was it. Now they have arrested my wage also. Can this happen?

    1. Scottish Adviser

      Hi Helen

      Unfortunately, as it is Council Tax Arrears, you are both treated as being liable for it.

      This means both of you can have your wages arrested for the same debt at the same time.

      What is important is you need to be paying your current Council Tax, otherwise, you will get another Summary Warrant and the wage arrestment will just continue. Basically, it becomes a vicious circle. You can’t pay your current Council Tax because of a wage arrestment,so you get another Summary Warrant and they apply another wage arrestment when this one is done.

      If the wage arrestment is for this year 2019-20, you need to get it resolved hopefully before the next financial year, 2020-21, otherwise they will send out more Summary Warrants next year.

      One option is to look at doing a Joint Debt Payment Programme under the Debt Arrangement Scheme, as this could get both your wage arrestments stopped.

      If you want to explore this option further, contact your local Citizen Advice Bureau or Local Authority Money Advice Service.

  9. Kelly


    I was wondering if you can help.

    I received a letter on 9/8/19 about an over payment of housing benefit in 2014.

    It says they have applied for a Direct Earning Arrestment (DEA) on my wages.

    I called the number today to be told I have to wait 3-5 working days for someone to call me back.

    I’ve received no letters or anything to say about over payments.

    Can this DEA be stopped?

    I am really anxious about them doing this.

    What are options?

    1. Scottish Adviser

      Hi Kelly

      Direct Earning Arrestments are a debt recovery tool that can be used to recover benefit overpayments.

      The amount they can take can vary, but can be as much as 20% of your net earnings after tax and national insurance are deducted. In certain circumstances it can be as much as 40%, but only if the overpayment arose from fraud.

      Normally, DEAs are only applied for if you are not in receipt of a benefit that the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) or your local authority can take deductions from and they have not been able to agree a repayment plan with you (or if you have had one, you stopped paying it).

      You, however, do have options, so I would suggest as a course of action:

      1) Contact your local authority’s Debt Management Team (I know you have, but try calling and ask to speak to someone in Debt Recovery).

      Ask if they will enter a voluntary repayment plan with you or agree to a fixed amount each month that you can afford to be deducted from your earnings.

      Explain your financial circumstances and why what they are proposing to take will cause you hardship.

      They do have the power to be flexible.

      2) Get a full benefit check done and make sure you are in receipt of all the benefits that you are entitled to. This includes single person discounts for Council Tax, if you live on your own. You can do your own benefit check online here.

      3) Get free money advice and consider all your options. This includes looking at, amongst other options, the Debt Arrangement Scheme.

      This will involve doing an income and expenditure with a money adviser and seeing what you can afford to pay towards your debts, but only after you have been left enough to pay all your essential outgoings, including your current Council Tax.

      With the Debt Arrangement Scheme you do have to include all debts and it will damage your credit rating.

      However, it should prevent you getting into further debt if the DEA is going to leave you unable to pay other bills.

      Once the Money Adviser has agreed with you what you can afford they will offer that to your creditors and if it is accepted, Local Authorities normally have a policy of ceasing all recovery action, including DEAs.

      You would then just make one payment per month to a Payment Distributor, who would pay the people you owe money to.

      In terms of where to get free money advice, you can contact your local Citizen Advice Bureau or contact your local Council and ask them where you can get free money advice in your area.

      They may provide it themselves or will fund an advice agency in your area to do it.

      I hope this helps.

      Even if the Debt Arrangement Scheme is not suitable for you, there are other options available.

      If I can be of further help please don’t hesitate to ask.

  10. Karen

    Sheriff Officers came to my door on Thursday and gave me a Charge for Payment for council tax arrears that I allowed to run up.
    They said I have 14 days to pay the £705.34. I am a single parent and I don’t have this.
    My ex-partner has recently reduced the amount he pays me in maintenance, as he has lost his job. I have also got credit card debts that I built up before Christmas.
    The Sheriff Officers said if I don’t pay the amount I owe, I could get my bank account frozen or my wages arrested. I cannot afford this.
    I am really worried, so I spoke to a firm about going into the Scheme, but they said it will cost me two payments of £250.
    I really cannot afford this, but they said I could put it on my credit cards.
    I am worried if I do this I will get into trouble and just end up owing more.
    Can you help? Is there somewhere I can go? I live in Edinburgh.

    1. Scottish Adviser

      Hi Karen

      I am glad you came on. I am sorry you are in this situation and it appears someone has risked making it worse with bad advice.

      There is no need to pay up-front fees to enter the Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) and you are absolutely correct they should not be paid for from a credit card.

      Although, many people do use private firms, this one you have dealt with sound like rogues. Not only should they not have told you to pay from a credit card, but they should have told you that the DAS can be accessed for free and provided the contact details for your local advice agencies. They are obliged to do this for all fee paying clients, so they can make an informed decision.

      Your local advice agencies are the Advice Shop, which is Edinburgh Council’s money advice service; or Citizen Advice Edinburgh. Both can do DAS for free.

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