“Today’s publication of the Personal Insolvency Bill is an essential part of a series of measures that will tackle the problem of personal and mortgage debt.
“The Labour Party’s line on this devastating economic problem has been consistent and clear. In the run up to the General Election, and during the negotiations for the Programme for Government, Labour has highlighted proposals to deal with the mortgage debt issue. This legislation reflects that position.
“Mortgage debt is a deadweight for households across the country and with Labour at the heart of Government, we are determined to tackle it. We all know cases where the banks have simply not played ball in relation to coming up with debt resolution solutions for its customers.
“This legislation will put pressure on the banks to negotiate with borrowers in a meaningful way. It will address the imbalance that has existed between the banks and the borrower, providing greater strength to the borrower. This legislation creates a stimulus for the banks to engage with customers in a meaningful way by coming up with a process that is mutually acceptable.
“This is not blanket debt forgiveness. People will still have to meet their financial obligations, but those obligations must be reasonable and fair.
“This legislation represents a fundamental reform of our bankruptcy laws, updating it to make it fit for a recovering economy.
“I welcome the progress made on the Government’s integrated mortgage arrears strategy. Today, we see the publication of this vital legislation to deal with personal and mortgage debt. Yesterday, Minister for Housing, Jan O’Sullivan launched the Mortgage to Rent Scheme on a national basis. There are many other measures that will assist those in mortgage distress including advice and support services across the country.
“The Personal Insolvency Bill will assist in creating a modern and fairer approach to dealing with unsustainable debt and will offer light at the end of the tunnel for many struggling households across the country.”