Proposal could see number of IVAs soar

The number of individual voluntary agreements is set to soar next year under government plans to introduce Simple IVAs.

IVAs are seen as an alternative to bankruptcy whereby debtors agree to pay a proportion of their debts to creditors. Typically, this is at least 25%, with an agreed payment every month.

But banks have just reported bad debts of billions, with 2.6bn being attributed directly to customers. This has been blamed on relaxed bankruptcy laws and the rise in IVAs.

Measures next year could make the process of getting an IVA much simpler, with the procedure eliminating the modification process and the need for a physical meeting. Instead, creditors will vote to accept or reject proposals by a date set by the nominee.

A spokesperson for PricewaterhouseCoopers says: “The popularity of IVAs is likely to be boosted by the introduction of SIVAs, which are expected in 2007. These are aimed at cases in which debts are not disputed, contingent or otherwise undefined and are under 75,000 in total.”

IVAs are now at three times the level they were in 2002 and are likely to increase further over the next couple of years. By the end of 2007, they will be as common as bankruptcies if this trend continues.