Equality Impact Assessment Record
Title of policy/ practice/ strategy/ legislation etc.: Moveable Transactions (Scotland) Bill
Minister: Minister for Public Finance Planning and Community Wealth
Lead official: Hamish Goodall
Officials involved in the EQIA: Sandra Jack - Private Law Unit
Directorate: Division: Team: Justice: Civil Law and Legal System: Private Law Unit
Is this new policy or revision to an existing policy?
The Bill implements the recommendations of the Scottish Law Commission (SLC) in their Report on Moveable Transactions (No. 249), published in November 2017.
The aim of the Bill is to modernise and simplify the Scots law of moveable transactions. It will enable both businesses and individuals to use their assets to raise finance, by selling debts or by granting security over moveable property (such as plant and machinery, vehicles or intellectual property).
Moveable transactions law enables businesses and individuals to use their moveable property (i.e. property other than land and buildings) to access finance. It is a crucial part of commercial law.
- would make various types of commercial transactions more efficient, less expensive and less complicated than they currently are;
- would lead to greater access to finance for individuals and businesses in Scotland;
- would clarify the existing law, encouraging people and businesses in Scotland to use Scots law with confidence.
The Bill if implemented would contribute to two national framework outcomes:
Fair Work and Business: We have a thriving innovative businesses, with quality jobs and fair work for everyone.
Economy: We have a globally competitive, entrepreneurial, inclusive and sustainable economy.
Who will it affect?
The Bill will affect businesses, especially small businesses and sole traders and consumers (individuals) by providing an additional option to gain finance.
It is anticipated that reform would facilitate access to finance for Scottish businesses, particularly small businesses, thereby helping them reach their full economic potential. It could also reduce the cost of borrowing for Scottish businesses by enabling secured finance.
Current Scottish law is badly outdated, unclear, and unduly restrictive. It inhibits economic growth by making it harder for especially small businesses to get the finance they need.
- For example, Scotland is home to many intellectual property-rich enterprises in the food and drink, oil and gas, renewable technologies, IT, life sciences and creative sectors. It is difficult under the current law for such enterprises to raise working capital by using their intellectual property as security for a loan.
What might prevent the desired outcomes being achieved?
The aim of the policy is to enable both businesses and individuals to use their assets to raise finance, by selling debts or by granting security over moveable property. What will facilitate this is the setting up of two registers – the Register of Assignations and the Register of Statutory Pledges.
There is no evidence to suggest that there are issues which will prevent the desired outcomes being achieved. If the two Registers are not developed then the outcome would not be achieved.
The registration process will be an online automated service making it a simple process to register assignations and statutory pledges. If the process were to become burdensome then there would be reluctance to use it.
The Scottish Government is, however, working with the Registers of Scotland to ensure that the Registers are developed in a user friendly way and there are processes built in to accommodate individuals or businesses who do not have online access.
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