Section 26 — Notice of public auction

Debt Arrangement and Attachment (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3 – in the Scottish Parliament at 5:00 pm on 13 November 2002.

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Photo of Kenneth Gibson Kenneth Gibson Scottish National Party

Amendment 61 secures for debtors at least seven days' notice of the removal of attached articles. As current legislation contains such a safeguard, it seems somewhat draconian not to retain it. With this amendment, the debtor will be provided with additional time to make payment or payment arrangements and avoid the implementation of exceptional attachment orders. Moreover, third parties will be able to arrange for the release of their own possessions from attachment. As it is surely too harsh to carry out an order without such notice, I ask the chamber to support the amendment.

I move amendment 61.

Photo of Tommy Sheridan Tommy Sheridan SSP

I want to support amendment 61. It is a draconian step too far, even for this Executive, to allow sheriff officers to turn up without any notice whatever at a debtor's home and gain entry by removing the locks. In that respect, the legislation is worse than the Debtors (Scotland) Act 1987. At least the 1987 act provided for a minimum of four days' notice, which usually meant that seven days' notice would be given. If the chamber does not accept the amendment, it will make the provision worse than it is at present, because there will be no notice. If there is notice, a debtor who—for whatever reason—has not sought proper assistance, will at least have a wee seven days' breathing space to seek help. As most people who work at the coalface and who give advice to debtors point out, it sometimes takes a final notice of sanction for people to seek assistance. From that point of view, amendment 61 is absolutely necessary if the bill is not to become one of the most draconian pieces of legislation that has ever been introduced.

Photo of Robin Harper Robin Harper Green

I also support amendment 61. Without the proviso that it contains, the bill will cause people unnecessary fear and alarm.

Photo of Richard Simpson Richard Simpson Labour

I am tempted just to read out the first sentence of my brief, which says that amendment 61 is unnecessary and that the bill already does what it seeks to provide, but I will explain the situation, because the member who has moved the amendment clearly does not understand that.

Section 26(2) provides that the debtor must be notified of the details of an auction. Under section 26(2)(a), the notification must specify the date of auction and, under section 26(2)(c), the date for removal of assets. As section 20(6) makes clear, it is not possible for the date of removal to be fewer than seven days before the auction date. As a result, amendment 61 is unnecessary and should be rejected.

Photo of Kenneth Gibson Kenneth Gibson Scottish National Party

I will press amendment 61, given that amendment 80 says that

"the officer shall give notice to the debtor" and yet no time period has been specified.

Photo of George Reid George Reid Scottish National Party

The question is, that amendment 61 be agreed to. Are we agreed?



Division number 20

For: Adam, Brian, Campbell, Colin, Canavan, Dennis, Crawford, Bruce, Ewing, Dr Winnie, Ewing, Fergus, Ewing, Mrs Margaret, Gibson, Mr Kenneth, Gorrie, Donald, Grahame, Christine, Harper, Robin, Hyslop, Fiona, Ingram, Mr Adam, Lochhead, Richard, MacAskill, Mr Kenny, MacDonald, Ms Margo, Marwick, Tricia, Matheson, Michael, McGugan, Irene, McLeod, Fiona, Morgan, Alasdair, Munro, John Farquhar, Neil, Alex, Paterson, Mr Gil, Robison, Shona, Russell, Michael, Sheridan, Tommy, Sturgeon, Nicola, Swinney, Mr John, Ullrich, Kay, Welsh, Mr Andrew, White, Ms Sandra, Wilson, Andrew
Against: Alexander, Ms Wendy, Baillie, Jackie, Barrie, Scott, Boyack, Sarah, Brankin, Rhona, Brown, Robert, Butler, Bill, Chisholm, Malcolm, Craigie, Cathie, Curran, Ms Margaret, Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James, Eadie, Helen, Ferguson, Patricia, Fergusson, Alex, Fitzpatrick, Brian, Fraser, Murdo, Gallie, Phil, Gillon, Karen, Godman, Trish, Goldie, Miss Annabel, Grant, Rhoda, Gray, Iain, Hamilton, Mr Duncan, Harding, Mr Keith, Henry, Hugh, Home Robertson, Mr John, Hughes, Janis, Jackson, Dr Sylvia, Jackson, Gordon, Jamieson, Cathy, Jamieson, Margaret, Jenkins, Ian, Johnstone, Alex, Kerr, Mr Andy, Lamont, Johann, Livingstone, Marilyn, Lyon, George, Macdonald, Lewis, Macintosh, Mr Kenneth, MacKay, Angus, Maclean, Kate, Macmillan, Maureen, Martin, Paul, McAllion, Mr John, McAveety, Mr Frank, McCabe, Mr Tom, McIntosh, Mrs Lyndsay, McLeish, Henry, McLetchie, David, McMahon, Mr Michael, McNeil, Mr Duncan, McNeill, Pauline, Monteith, Mr Brian, Morrison, Mr Alasdair, Muldoon, Bristow, Mulligan, Mrs Mary, Murray, Dr Elaine, Oldfather, Irene, Peacock, Peter, Peattie, Cathy, Radcliffe, Nora, Raffan, Mr Keith, Robson, Euan, Rumbles, Mr Mike, Scanlon, Mary, Scott, John, Scott, Tavish, Simpson, Dr Richard, Smith, Iain, Smith, Mrs Margaret, Stephen, Nicol, Stone, Mr Jamie, Thomson, Elaine, Tosh, Mr Murray, Watson, Mike, Whitefield, Karen, Wilson, Allan, Young, John

Photo of George Reid George Reid Scottish National Party

The result of the division is: For 33, Against 78, Abstentions 0.

Amendment 61 disagreed to.