Nearly 2,800 debt management plans were pronounced in the first quarter of 2008. This is around one third fewer than in the first quarter of 2007. The decrease is probably a consequence of the change in the law.
Definite debt management schemes by category of debtor
Sharp drop for private persons
The number of official debt management plans decreased sharply among private persons in particular in the beginning of 2008. In the first quarter there were nearly 2,400 cases, compared with 3,560 cases in the first quarter of 2007. This decrease is probably connected with the change in the law on debt management which came into effect on 1 January 2008. This amendment has reinforced the voluntary debt management procedure.
It is too early to say whether the amendment will result in a permanent decreases in the number of debt management plans, or whether this decrease is only a temporary one. Other possible causes of the decrease are the improved efficiency of assistance is debt cases and the improved economic situation of households in 2007.
Decrease more gradual for one-man businesses
The changes in the law are applicable to both people with and people without a one-man business. However, the number of plans that result from the operation of a one-man business has fallen by clearly less than the number of plans for people who do not have their own business.
The number of debt management plans for people with their own business fell gradually from 578 in the first quarter of 2007 to 431 in the first quarter of 2008.
Very large drop in larger cities
The number of debt management plans in municipalities with more than 100 thousand inhabitants in the first quarter of 2008 was about half that of twelve months previously. The decrease was much smaller for smaller municipalities.
Definite debt management schemes by size of municipality, 1st quarter 2008
Wim Vissers and Cecile Schut