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Scottish Statutory Debt Solutions Statistics: Annual edition

An experimental statistics publication for Scotland

Average debt level by type of debt solutions

Table 11 below shows the median (average) debt level by financial year and type of debt solution. In 2022-23, the debt of a typical petition, MAP, full administration, PTD, and DAS respectively is £14,900, £12,000, £30,600, £16,400 and £13,200.

The debt level for each debt solution remains fairly stable over time since 2015-16, with the exception of petitions where the minimum debt level was raised to £10,000 under the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No. 2) Act 2020 which came into force on 27 May 2020.

This minimum debt level was then permanently set at £5,000 on 01 October 2022 through the Coronavirus (Recovery and Reform) (Scotland) Act.

Table 11: Median debt level by financial year and type of debt solution
Financial year of the awarded/protected/approved date 2015-16 2016-17 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20 2020-21 2021-22 2022-23 Annual change (%)
Bankruptcy: Creditor petition (£) [x] [x] [x] 10,100 11,400 10,000 17,500 14,900 -14.9%
Bankruptcy: Minimal Asset Process (£) 9,300 9,000 9,300 9,600 9,600 11,200 11,700 12,000 2.6%
Bankruptcy: Full Administration (£) 25,100 26,800 26,000 25,700 25,000 30,900 30,300 30,600 1.0%
Protected trust deed (£) 14,900 14,100 14,500 14,900 15,400 16,600 15,700 16,400 4.5%
Debt Arrangement Scheme (£) [x] 14,900 15,300 16,400 16,400 13,800 11,700 13,200 12.8%
Source: Accountant in Bankruptcy

Note: [x] Data not (yet) available

Debt figures for all debtors have a very skewed distribution, with a long right-hand tail of high-level debts. In other words, the majority of debtors tend to have low- or medium-level debts while there are a few people with high-level debts.

The median is calculated by identifying the exact middle point in a set of all debts. So, when the debts are ranked from lowest to highest, the median is the value in the exact middle of the observed debts.

The median is AiB’s preferred measure of average debt level as it is less affected by a relatively small number of debtors with very high debt level than the mean is.

The mean is the sum of all debts divided by the number of debtors. Although mean figures are not presented here, these are similar to the median figures for each grouped debt level except for the debt level at least £10,000. In the latter grouped debt level (at least £10,000), the mean figure is much greater than the median figure because there is no upper limit.

It may help to distinguish between “average debt” (mean) and “the debt of a typical debtor” (median).

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