Minister for Community Wealth and Public Finance, Tom Arthur, has appointed the lead for an independent, strategic review of debt solutions in Scotland.
Yvonne MacDermid OBE will begin her work this month. She was for many years the chief executive of Money Advice Scotland. She led and developed the charity from its inception in 1997 until stepping down in 2021.
Mr Arthur said:
“In recent years, the Scottish Government has been sponsoring a rolling programme of review and reform in relation to debt solutions and diligence. The changes that we have made, and propose to make through the current Bankruptcy and Diligence (Scotland) Bill, are helping to strengthen, update and humanise the existing regime.
“Now is the time for a more fundamental, strategic assessment of the options and mechanisms provided for debt solutions and for diligence, to ensure that they are most effectively attuned to the needs of today’s economy and society. I can think of no one better placed to undertake this work than Yvonne MacDermid. She will bring vast experience, intelligence and compassion to bear in engaging with stakeholders to identify areas for improvement.”
Ms MacDermid said:
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to lead this important review. It is vital that, when people get into financial difficulty, they have access to an appropriate range of advice, support and options. My task is to engage with a broad range of stakeholders, to examine views and evidence, to identify ways of improving on what currently exists. It is a task I intend to tackle with vigour.”
The Scottish Government pledged in September 2019 to take forward a Wider Review of Scotland's debt solutions. This has been progressed in a three stages, the first two of which have already reported and resulted in legislative action. The third and final stage, which is about to begin under Yvonne MacDermid’s leadership, will involve a longer-term, strategic assessment of available debt solutions to consider if they meet the needs of a modern economy.
Yvonne joined Money Advice Scotland (MAS) at its inception as a volunteer for the steering group that set up the charity. MAS was formed after research by the Scottish Consumer Council showed the need for an umbrella body to represent debt advisers and look at free independent advice services and access to personal financial information.
Previously, Yvonne had served in a civilian capacity within Strathclyde Police and went on to work for Trading Standards.