Public stigma for bankrupts remains

Link: Fears surface over personal insolvency surge

The survey, conducted by YouGov for KPMG on almost 2,000 consumers over 18, showed 70% of people believed bankrupts should have to wait at least three years before they are allowed to run a company again.

These findings are contrary to the ‘rescue culture’ the government wants to promote with the Enterprise Act that comes into force this summer. The new act reduces the penalty for ‘honest’ bankrupts from three years to one.

Although the pollsters agree dishonest bankrupts should be banned from running a business for up to 15 years, 9% want an even higher penalty which would see reckless directors losing their rights to run a business for life.

Steve Treharne, head of corporate recovery at KPMG said: ‘The survey reveals some surprising, and in some ways old-fashioned attitudes to bankruptcy which are at odds with the government’s proposed new bankruptcy regime.

‘I see a real practical difficulty in that those who have suffered financial misfortune often find it difficult or even impossible to get credit. This clearly impacts adversely on their ability to get back on their feet.

‘It is perhaps telling that only a minority of those questioned thought that financial institutions should be compelled to lend money to former bankrupts to enable them to get back on their feet and make a fresh start.

‘The survey results clearly show that people are not yet ready to accept a regime where credit is easily available to former bankrupts or where there is any obligation on the providers of finance to help former bankrupts.’

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