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What happens during Breathing Space

alert iconThe Breathing Space scheme is available in England and Wales. In Scotland, the moratorium period is similar, but has different benefits and considerations.

Once you've completed the eligibility checks and are registered on the Breathing Space scheme, the Insolvency Service will contact your creditors. They won't be able to add interest or fees to your debts, or take enforcement action, for 60 days.

To ensure it runs smoothly, there will be certain things you'll need to do, and rules your creditors will need to stick to. There will also be things that we commit to doing as we guide you through the process. The details for both what you need to do and what we will do are shown below.

What do I need to do during my Breathing Space?

While you're on the Breathing Space scheme, there are a few things you need to do to keep things running smoothly. To prevent your Breathing Space being cancelled, you must:


  1. Keep up regular payments. You’ll still need to keep up with regular payments towards your existing commitments where you can, for example payments to your rent, mortgage, hire purchase payments and utility bills
  2. Continue seeking debt advice. You’re required to continue seeking debt advice, or continue with your debt solution application
  3. Keep us updated. You must inform us of any changes to your circumstances while you’re on the scheme
  4. Avoid taking out more credit. While you’ve got Breathing Space, you’re not allowed to take out more than £500 in additional credit, either on your own or jointly with another person
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Need some Breathing Space?

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What will StepChange do to support me while I'm registered for Breathing Space?

Once you've registered on the Breathing Space scheme, we’ll support you by:


  1. Providing you with advice to meet your circumstances. We’ll help you to finish your debt advice session and let you know the options available to you
  2. Setting up your chosen debt solution to help you start getting your finances back on track
  3. Checking to see how you're getting on. After 30 days, we'll review your situation and will only get in touch if anything has changed
  4. Keeping you informed. If you tell us about a change in your circumstances, we'll let you know if your Breathing Space is affected and what to do if it is
  5. Handling any creditor queries, and contacting you to resolve these if needed

Your Breathing Space may be cancelled if you don't adhere to these commitments, so it's important that you stick to them for the duration of your Breathing Space, and make sure you continue to seek debt advice so you can start getting your finances back on track as soon as possible.

What must my creditors do while I'm on the Breathing Space scheme?

Once the Insolvency Service contacts your creditors about your Breathing Space, your creditors are required to:


  1. Find your account and any eligible debts you have with them. If a creditor finds additional qualifying debts that you haven’t included in your application, they’re required to let us know. We’ll then contact you to add details about these debts to your application
  2. Freeze the addition of interest and fees on debts included in your Breathing Space
  3. Freeze enforcement action on debts included in your Breathing Space. However, if you’re having debt repayments taken directly from your wages or benefits, these will continue
  4. Stop contacting you to ask for repayment of debts included in your Breathing Space. Creditors can still contact you with ‘business as usual’ communications, such as monthly statements
  5. Notify any agents that they’ve appointed to recover money, such as collection agencies or bailiffs, that Breathing Space has been applied to the debts in question

What else should I be aware of?

While on the Breathing Space scheme, there are a couple of things to be aware of:


  • If any of your debts are paid directly from your wage or benefits (known as an attachment or deduction of earnings), these will still be taken as usual
  • Some of your creditors may pause or cancel your Direct Debit payments towards debts such as personal loans or credit cards. If you’re able to continue paying towards the debt, you’ll have to make the payment by another method. If you don’t do this, missed payments may affect your credit file and your debt advice options

Who are we?

  • UK's leading debt charity
  • Over 25 years' experience
  • Free, impartial advice & managed debt solutions

How we help

mum at the table with bills

Need some Breathing Space?

Get free, online debt advice to see if you're eligible.

Get debt help