Section 4 — Effect of debt payment programmes

Part of Debt Arrangement and Attachment (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 4:00 pm on 13th November 2002.

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Photo of Tommy Sheridan Tommy Sheridan SSP 4:00 pm, 13th November 2002

I am disappointed by the minister's response. The issue of contractual interest is of cross-party concern and is clearly a major issue that unites all the benefit advice and money advice agencies. The minister's response is not good enough. Under the bill as amended at stage 2, the minister will have the power to make regulations for sheriffs to deal with creditors' refusal to enter debt arrangement schemes. Either creditors would agree voluntarily to freeze interest or the matter could be referred by ministers to a sheriff.

Therefore, it is not an insurmountable problem to include in the bill the provision to freeze contractual interest in a debt payment programme. To say that that would not comply with the ECHR is, to be frank, a red herring. Amendment 36 is important and I urge Parliament to support it. Without amendment 36, the debt arrangement scheme could be fatally wounded.