In a news statement to Money Saving Expert (MSE) yesterday, the Scottish Government suggested its proposal to make Scots pay more over a longer period in bankruptcy had support from its public consultation on the draft Bankruptcy and Debt Advice (Scotland) Bill.
A Scottish Government spokesperson told MSE: "We consulted on this proposal and the majority of stakeholders who expressed a preference preferred a longer contribution period for bankruptcy of five years".
What the Scottish Government statement singularly failed to do was explain how the majority of consultation responses to this question - 75% of all responses - believed there was no need for change at all (para 5.64, page 54 of the Accountant in Bankruptcy's analysis of consultation responses).
The Scottish Government had originally proposed a multiple range of 'products' within bankruptcy with different conditions and criteria which was ultimately viewed as an over-complication of the remedy.
Extrapolating support for 'four year bankruptcies' from Question 10.41a when 75% of respondents were either against the proposal or in favour of the status quo would suggest the Scottish Government is not prepared to listen to its own public consultation. There is an overwhelming majority of civic Scotland against making poor people pay more.
GLC's Principal Solicitor, Mike Dailly said: "The underlying rationale of this Bill is regressive and draconian. It changes bankruptcy from a well understood last resort of debt relief, into a vehicle to extract as much money as possible from all debtors in order to pay for the administration costs of the Accountant in Bankruptcy - an agency of the Scottish Government - and to swing the pendulm in the favour of creditors regardless of the impact on vulnerable debtors. In so doing, the Bill takes us back to 1913 Scotland".