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Our response to HM Treasury's consultation on a policy proposal for a breathing space scheme

HM Treasury sought views on a detailed policy proposal for a breathing space and statutory debt repayment plan, including eligibility criteria, protections of the scheme, and administering and funding.

Having campaigned for the introduction of breathing space and statutory debt repayment plans (SDRPs), we're delighted to see HM Treasury moving forward with implementation of these schemes which, if designed and implemented effectively, could have a significant positive impact on people in problem debt.

In our response, we draw on our experience of administering debt management plans (DMPs) and the Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) in Scotland.

A summary of our response

  • We strongly welcome the fact that the schemes will protect against a range of collections, recovery and enforcement action, as we know from our clients that this can be particularly distressing for people.
  • For the scheme to be fully effective, these protections must include stopping all deductions from benefits to repay debt and stopping existing attachments of earnings orders.
  • We welcome the intention to include all debts to national and local government – this must be unambiguous in the final scheme design.
  • We strongly believe that any register must not be public. Having a public register puts people at significant risk of being targeted by inappropriate marketing, or other exploitative practices.
  • We welcome the extension of the proposed length of breathing space to 60 days, however there is still a significant risk that, for some people, the breathing space period will end before a debt solution is set-up, leading to a lapse in protection.

Download our response to read our full recommendations.

Download our response

Helping you become debt free...

“I wish to thank your staff for all the great help they gave me when I was in so much debt.
They were a pillar of support to me.” (Leslie, Essex)

Foundation for Credit Counselling Wade House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, LS2 8NG trading as StepChange Debt Charity and StepChange Debt Charity Scotland. A registered charity no.1016630 and SC046263. It is a limited company registered in England and Wales (company no:2757055). Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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