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One year of Breathing Space:

Our initial findings

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The Government’s Breathing Space Scheme was implemented in May 2021 with nearly 70,000 applications in the first 12 months.

Having delivered the majority of these applications, we have conducted some analysis to assess the impact of the Scheme and how successfully it is achieving its objectives.

These initial findings based on analysis of our client data and a mixed survey of clients who took Breathing Space and some that didn’t suggest the Scheme has had a largely positive impact. Although partly to be expected because of the eligibility criteria for the Scheme, Breathing Space clients were three times more likely to get through full debt advice and end up on a debt solution.

91% if Breathing Space clients completed full debt advice

Interestingly, Breathing Space clients reported stronger wellbeing outcomes than other clients with at least 2 in 3 reporting improved wellbeing compared to 1 in 2 among those who didn’t take the scheme. Nearly all clients who access the scheme found that the protections offered by the scheme were useful.

2 in 3 Breathing Space clients reported improved wellbeing

These early findings also point to some potential areas for improvement in the Scheme. 4 in 10 clients felt 60 days wasn’t long enough to stabilise their situation with most feeling 3-6 months would be more appropriate. There was also evidence of some creditors not fulfilling their obligations during the scheme and also after when clients were still in need of enhanced forbearance.

41% said 60 days Breathing Space was not long enough

We are aiming to publish a broader evaluation later in the year based on discussions with a wider range of stakeholders including providers, creditors and advisers. We hope this work will give a clearer picture of the impact of the Scheme so far and perhaps some more concrete areas for improvement.

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