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Scottish consumers owed £14.3 million in registered debt in Q1 2020, according to figures released today by Registry Trust, a rise of 20 percent on Q1 2019. The number of decrees saw a small increase of three percent compared to Q1 2019. The large rise in the value over the period was driven mostly by a 16 percent increase in the average size of decrees from £2,267 to £2,629.

The number of decrees against Scottish businesses rose by 29 percent over the period, from 561 to 722. The total value of decrees against businesses fell 5%, to just under £3million. The average value also fell by 10% as the number of lower value decrees continued to rise.

Incorporated businesses saw the biggest rise in number of decrees with an increase of 55 percent, from 398 to 617, while the average value fell by 37%.

Smaller businesses fared better this quarter, with decreases in the number and total value at 36 percent and 13 percent respectively. The average rose significantly, by 35%. The data suggests that a number of high value cases are distorting the average value.

Trust chairman Mick McAteer said: “Covid19 interventions by government and regulators, and forbearance by creditors means we should see a major fall in numbers next quarter. But this latest data suggests some Scottish consumers are already struggling with debts. Further damage to household finances will show up later”.

Q1 2019 Q1 2020 Change (compared with 2019)
Decrees against consumers
volume 5,253 5,430 3.37%
total value £11,910,308 £14,272,964 19.84%
Average* value £2,267 £2,629 15.93%
Median value £1,289 £1,427 10.71%
Decrees against all businesses
volume 561 722 28.70%
total value £3,141,036 £2,996,677 -4.60%
Average* value £5,599 £4,151 -25.80%
Median value £1,900 £1,407 -25.97%
Decrees against incorporated businesses
volume 398 617 55.03%
total value £2,651,995 £2,571,576 -3.03%
Average* value £6,663 £4,168 -37.45%
Median value £2,067 £1,288 -37.69%
Decrees against unincorporated businesses
volume 163 105 -35.58%
total value £489,041 £425,101 -13.07%
Average* value £3,000 £4,049 34.94%
Median value £1,632 £1,572 -3.68%

For more information please contact

0207 391 7287

Notes for editors

Registry Trust is a non-profit company established in 1985 to become the Registrar of County Court Judgments. Registry Trust holds a public register of Scottish decrees. By agreement with the Scottish Courts Administration Service it collects details of undefended money decrees entered in the small claims, summary and ordinary cause sheriffs’ courts in Scotland.

Decrees are removed from the register if paid in full within one calendar month of the issue date and Registry Trust is informed, but will otherwise remain registered for six years. If fully paid outside the one calendar month, defendants can apply to Registry Trust to have the record marked as ‘satisfied’ to improve their credit rating.

Anyone may search for entries against a named person or business at a stated address or a corporate body in the British Isles and the Republic of Ireland by visiting Registry Trust’s website or by writing to Registry Trust, 153–157 Cleveland Street, London W1T 6QW.

To view the full set of statistics, visit