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Enterprise Act 2002

Sections 271 and 272: Insolvency Services Account: interest & Insolvency Services Accounts

794.Section 405 of the Insolvency Act 1986 requires that any excess in investment income from the Insolvency Service Investment Account after payments to insolvent estates and tax should be paid into the Consolidated Fund. Schedule 8 paragraph 16 and Schedule 9 paragraph 21 of the Insolvency Act 1986 enables the interest rate for the return of investment income to insolvent estates to be set through secondary legislation. The current rate of 3.5% has applied to companies since before the implementation of the 1986 Act. The Insolvency Act 2000 provided for payment of interest into bankruptcy estates.

795.Section 271 introduces additions to Schedules 8 and 9 to the Insolvency Act 1986 to allow Rules to be made providing for the interest rate to be set by the Secretary of State by the issuing of a Notice, as opposed to through secondary legislation. This will enable the rate to be reviewed at regular intervals, probably annually, and allow changes in investment returns to the Account to flow through to insolvent estates without having to make regular amendments through statutory instruments.

796.Section 272subsection (1) removes the requirement under section 405 Insolvency Act 1986 for excess income from the Insolvency Services Investment Account to be paid into the Consolidated Fund.

797.Section 408 of the Insolvency Act 1986 provides for recourse to the Consolidated Fund where, after payments received from the Investment Account, the Insolvency Services Account has insufficient funds to meet its liabilities. Subsection (2) of section 272 substitutes for the current section 408 a new section that incorporates the circumstances covered by the current section 408 and section 405 but provides wider powers that allow for adjustments to be made between the Insolvency Services Account or the Insolvency Services Investment Account and the Consolidated Fund. Adjustments may be necessary due to short-term fluctuations between the expected income, based on the level at which the interest rates are set and the actual investment return. This is because interest rates are set in advance, whereas the Investment Account is made up of investments purchased at different times, for different amounts, with differing returns and over different periods. New section 408 will enable the maintenance of a ‘buffer’ in the account to deal with such fluctuations and there may be occasions where adjustments need to be made between the account and the Consolidated Fund.

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