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Government debt help schemes and solutions

The government has a few ways to help with debts. There are solutions like insolvency and debt relief orders. They also offer the Breathing Space scheme, which gives you a break from contact.

Want to pay to write off debt? Get advice from a trusted organisation like us.

We will ask about your:

  • Income
  • Spending
  • Debts

We then tailor our debt advice to your needs.

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Beware ads for "Government debt help schemes"

Many fee-charging debt management companies call themselves government backed when they are not.

You might see these in search engines or on social media.

These claims can be misleading.

Beware any debt company that only offers one solution.

  • You may end up with a debt solution that is not right for you
  • It could make your situation worse

What is a government debt help scheme?

The government has a number of ways to help people:

The UK and Scottish governments have also introduced a number of 'debt solutions'.

Informal Agreements

These are agreements you make with your creditors. They let you:

  • Make changes to your plan, or
  • Stop and start, as you need

Formal Debt Solutions

These have rules that need to be met by both:

  • The people in debt and
  • The people they owe money to

Government Debt Solutions

Individual voluntary arrangement (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)

An IVA is a type of insolvency.

  • You make a monthly payment to your debts
  • Usually for five or six years
  • Unsecured debts are written off at the end

Personal bankruptcy (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)

Bankruptcy is a type of insolvency.

  • It writes off your debt
  • Income and assets may be taken to pay towards debts

Sequestration (Scotland)

Sequestration is a type of insolvency.

  • It is also called 'full administration bankruptcy'
  • It is similar to bankruptcy in the rest of the UK
  • This is managed by the 'Accountant in Bankruptcy'

Minimal assets process (MAP) bankruptcy (Scotland)

MAP bankruptcy is another type of bankruptcy.

  • It is designed for people with few debts and assets

Debt payment programme (DPP) under the Debt Arrangement Scheme - DAS (Scotland)

A DPP through DAS is legally binding.

Debt relief order (DRO) (England, Wales and Northern Ireland)

A debt relief order writes off your debts after 12 months.

  • As long as you meet the terms
  • It only writes off debt included in the DRO

Protected trust deed (Scotland)

A protected trust deed is a kind of insolvency.

  • You make reduced payments for four years
  • Unsecured debts are usually written off at the end

Is there a government debt relief program?

The government offers "Breathing Space", also called "the Debt Respite Scheme".

  • It does not write off debt
  • But it helps takes off some pressure from debt

For up to 60 days, your creditors cannot:

You do need to keep making your regular payments if you can afford to.

Find out if you can get Breathing Space.

You can only get Breathing Space in England and Wales.

The Debt Moratorium period is a similar scheme in Scotland.

How can I write off a debt?

There are a few ways debt may be written off.

1. The people you owe do not think you will ever pay them back

This is rare but could happen if:

  • You cannot work for medical reasons
  • You have a terminal illness

2. The debts are too old to collect

  • Some debts cannot be enforced after a certain amount of time
  • These are called statute-barred

3. You are finishing an insolvency solution

  • Debts are written off at the end of an insolvency solution
  • You must meet the agreed terms for this to happen

Find out more about debt write off.

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