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Breathing Space

We have successfully campaigned for a Breathing Space guarantee to help people in temporary financial difficulties recover from debt.

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Breathing Space scheme launched on 4 May 2021

People in England and Wales seeking debt advice may be entitled to a 60-day pause on interest, fees and enforcement action under the Government’s new Breathing Space scheme.

Read our press release on the launch.

Providing breathing space for people struggling with debt

The new statutory ‘Breathing Space’ scheme is designed to help people recover from financial difficulties and get their debt problems under control.

We’ve been at the forefront of campaigning for the Government to adopt this kind of scheme since 2014 and we’re proud to see it come to fruition.

We’re aware of how stressful the initial process of seeking help can be for those in debt. Some of our previous research demonstrated that six in ten clients who weren’t protected from interest, charges and enforcement action went on to take out even more credit to cope.

This is why we’ve worked hard to make sure this idea becomes reality.

Last year, it was estimated the new scheme could benefit up to 700,000 people in its first year, rising to more than a million people within a decade.

Given the number of people in problem debt has risen from 1.7 to 2.4 million over the course of the pandemic, it’s possible even more people could take advantage of Breathing Space.

Take a look at our timeline of how our campaigning made Breathing Space a reality.

Need time to deal with your debts?

Get free online debt advice and you may qualify for 60 days' Breathing Space from interest, fees, and charges.

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What’s next?

The Breathing Space scheme is the first piece in the jigsaw of protections for people in problem debt that we have campaigned for.

It will be followed in the coming years by the introduction of Statutory Debt Repayment Plans, which will give people coming out of Breathing Space the chance to affordably pay off their debts while remaining exempt from further interest, charges and enforcement action.

We’re going to continue to work with the Treasury in the coming months as it progresses plans for this additional guarantee of protection, which will give people further space to recover from serious debt problems.

Find out more about our policy and campaigning work.

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Email us for more information on our debt research and statistics across the UK.