Step Two – Gather your data and identify your stakeholders
What data is available about the current situation in the islands?
43. The data available on island communities with respect of statutory debt solutions and diligence is limited.
44. The number of diligence (such as earnings and wages arrestments) are recorded per Sheriffdom in Scotland. Therefore, the number of diligences undertaken in the island communities for each financial year are included within the data for the Sheriffdoms of both Grampian, Highland and Islands and North Strathclyde and cannot be extracted.
45. The data we hold on statutory debt solutions, however, is separated according to local authority areas within the 6 Sheriffdoms. The only local authorities specific to the island communities are Shetland Islands, Orkney Islands and Na h-Eileanan Siar. The other islands are part of a local authority area which also includes part of the mainland.
46. In 2021-22, the number of bankruptcies in the islands did not differ greatly from the mainland. When broken down into the 32 local authorities across Scotland the number of bankruptcies per 10,000 adults was similar across the entire country. For example, the number of bankruptcies (per 10,000 adults) on the Orkney Islands was between five and 10 which was the same as North Lanarkshire and East Lothian. Across the 32 local authorities in Scotland, there were either less than 5 adults being made bankrupt for every 10,000 adults or five to 10 adults being made bankrupt per 10,000 adults. On average, there is not a clear distinction in levels between the island communities and other areas of the country with respect to bankruptcy awards. In 2021-22, individuals entering a Protected Trust Deed or the Debt Arrangement Scheme per 10,000 adults were also similar in number, between the islands and the mainland.
Do you need to consult?
47. The accessibility of professional mental health services in the islands may be more limited than those on the mainland. There may also be concerns as to whether the island communities will have easy access to the online mental health moratorium system, therefore, general connectivity may be an issue.
48. However, feedback to the public consultation did not raise any concerns which would unduly impact on the islands. The provision in the Bill is intended to create an enabling power to allow the Scottish Ministers to introduce regulations creating a mental health moratorium.
49. Further targeted consultation on the mental health moratorium will be undertaken through a working group of mental health professionals and representatives from the debt sector. This will focus on the practical operation of the moratorium process including discussion on the resources available to less densely populated parts of the country.
How does any existing data differ between islands?
50. Given the above mentioned difficulties obtaining data it is not possible to identify any differences.
Are there any existing design features or mitigations in place?
51. The provisions within the Bill will amend legislation which will apply equally to all parties and will not be different between the island communities and the rest of Scotland.
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