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Interest rate warning as drop in number of Scots going bust welcomed

THE number of Scots going bust has fallen by more than one fifth in a year, according to new figures.

A total of 14,231 people were declared insolvent in 2013, down from 18,402 in the previous 12 months, the Accountant in Bankruptcy said. Protected trust deeds - voluntary arrangements where a debtor passes his estate to an insolvency practitioner - fell as did sequestrations, although the number going down that route remains higher than before the recession.

Bryan Jackson, business restructuring partner with BDO, welcomed the decline but said there was concern that people who were benefiting from lower interest rates on their mortgages may see their finances suffer again when rates rise.

He said: "The continued fall in personal insolvencies during 2013 is good news, indicating that many Scots have addressed the debt issues that arose prior to the recession and are now able to manage their finances more effectively. However, this also reflects the benefit of the benign interest rates, which have resulted in most homeowners paying the lowest mortgage rates in a generation.

"The concern is that many will be surviving at present on these historically low rates but will begin to suffer when the rates start to rise."

There was also a rise in the proportion of people entering bankruptcy with little income and few assets, with almost half of all applications in this bracket in the latest quarter. Enterprise Minister Fergus Ewing said: "While it is encouraging that personal insolvencies have gone down, it is important to work towards helping people stay out of debt and we will invest in a programme to provide financial education to those most at risk."

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