– in the Scottish Parliament on 4th February 2016.
4. To ask the Scottish Government for what reason personal independence payments are included for income assessment as part of the common financial tool in a bankruptcy process. (S4O-05527)
The common financial tool determines the level of contribution that a debtor can pay; ensuring the interests of debtors and creditors are considered.
It is absolutely clear both in legislation and guidance that no contribution is appropriate where income is derived solely from benefits. And where there is private income any contribution must not include any element of state benefits that are in payment.
The common financial tool guidance also makes it clear that where personal independence payment or a similar benefit is received, full account must be taken of additional expenditure that is likely to be required for care, mobility or other health related matters.
I thank the Deputy First Minister for that answer, which I know will be of interest to a constituent of mine. How many bankruptcies have involved people in receipt of personal independence payments or similar benefits in the past year?
Since April 2015, 295 bankruptcies have been awarded following a debtor application where income has included personal independence payments, disability living allowance or attendance allowance. A contribution has been applied in one of those cases to the level of private income involved. I hope that that clarifies the issue for Fiona McLeod.