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Get Help Out Of The Hole

10th September 2013

The Scottish Government is running a marketing campaign based upon the slogan, “Get Help Out Of The Hole”. It is seeking to promote the benefits of the Debt Arrangement Scheme for those that are struggling to manage their debt repayments.

The Get Help Out Of The Hole campaign is driven by a TV advertisement which directs people to a website of a similar name (helpoutofthehole.org/). This website is concurrently being promoted within the sponsored (paid-for) links that appear on search engine listings. The website describes some of the benefits of DAS and points people towards the official DAS website. This website provides further information and enables people to find local sources of help.

On a very significant level it’s extremely positive that further public-awareness of DAS is being fostered. Compared to informal debt management plans the benefits of the Debt Arrangement Scheme are enormous. Interest on debts will be frozen and legal action cannot continue once the arrangement is in place. There is no certainty regarding either of these outcomes with informal DMPs. Very few people in Scotland are well-advised to enter an informal debt management plan.

On a different level some might have concerns that the benefits of a DAS are being presented somewhat at the expense of the other options that people should also consider. A Debt Arrangement Scheme will not result in any debts being written-off, meaning that some people with more serious debt problems might have to remain in the arrangement for a very long time before they become debt-free. This might entail getting help out of a debt hole very slowly indeed in some circumstances.

In these circumstances people should also be made aware of the potential benefits of either protected trust deeds or sequestration (bankruptcy). Both are forms of personal insolvency (which by their nature should always be treated as a last resort). However, more serious financial situations might be better suited to debt solutions that include an aspect of debt relief via write-offs.

Trust-Deed.co.uk has previously reported on the low likelihood that longer debt arrangement schemes will ever be completed. Sticking to a restricted budget for many years in DAS can be psychologically tough no matter that the flexibility to accommodate some changing circumstances is built into DAS. Even where motivation is retained, the longer the term of a repayment scheme the more likely it is that circumstances will render its continuance unsustainable at some point in the future.

It’s clear what the preference of the Scottish Government is. The “Get Help Out Of The Hole” campaign makes it clear that it’s “the only Scottish Government backed debt arrangement scheme”. Alternatives (trust deeds and sequestration) do exist under Scottish insolvency legislation however, even if the Government doesn’t choose to endorse them in the same way.

The overwhelming majority of good debt advisers would suggest that anyone who is struggling with debts considers all of their options before committing to a particular solution. It’s important to find out as much about each as possible in order that you can identify what debt solution will be most beneficial for you. By doing so you’ll be able to make an informed decision about how best to tackle your debts.

Got a question about DAS, trust deeds or sequestration? Visit our forum at:
http://www.trust-deed.co.uk/forum/forum.asp?FORUM_ID=1

Read Trust-Deed.co.uk’s Debt Arrangement Scheme page:
http://www.trust-deed.co.uk/debtarrangementscheme.php

Visit the official DAS website and view the Get Help Out Of The Hole TV advert:

http://www.dasscotland.gov.uk/home

Wylie & Bisset Grant Thornton

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