Last year, just under 2,300 people ended up in debt restructuring, the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) reported Monday. That is 23 percent less than a year ago and the smallest number since the start of the Debt Restructuring Natural Persons Act (Wsnp) in 1998. The number of people undergoing debt restructuring has been declining for ten years, but that does not mean that there are fewer people. being in debt.
The corona crisis has not resulted in more people entering debt restructuring in both 2020 and 2021, the figures show. In 2020 there were 3,400 fewer people and last year the number of people in debt restructuring fell by 700. Since 2011, the number has been decreasing.
According to Statistics Netherlands, this may have something to do with the fact that, from 2012, municipalities have been given more powers with regard to debt counseling. They are obliged to help residents with debts and are allowed to organize the assistance themselves. They also have the right to make demands.
The Legal Aid Board already raised the alarm about this last month. Research by the council shows that many people do not even start applying for debt restructuring because the requirements are too high. “It is seen as a hopeless option,” says a report from the institution. As a result, there is no complete picture of how many people have problematic debts.
For example, people are obliged to reduce their debts for five years without incurring new debts. You will also no longer be eligible for remediation for ten years after you have completed an earlier process. Former Minister Sander Dekker (Legal Protection) sent a proposal to the House of Representatives last year to amend the law.
In addition, CBS points out that the economic conditions were quite favorable until March 2020, the start of the corona crisis. That could explain why not many more people are applying for debt restructuring. There is therefore a chance that the number will increase in the coming years.