Our campaign for 'Breathing Space'
The government made an announcement on 19 June 2019 about how a new 'Breathing Space' scheme and statutory debt repayment plans (SDRPs) will work. Breathing Space will come in during 2021, and statutory debt repayment plans will follow, probably in 2022.
Read our Chief Executive's blog about the announcement
Our research shows that one in five people struggling financially have been unable to afford food after making unsecured debt repayments. And we estimate that in just six months a typical StepChange Debt Charity client would see an extra £2,300 added to their debts if creditors applied interest and charges on all their accounts.
We’ve successfully campaigned for the government to introduce a comprehensive 'Breathing Space' scheme to support people seeking help with their debts from a regulated debt advice provider.
The government has now committed to introducing a 'Breathing Space' scheme, alongside new 'statutory debt repayment plans', to help people repaying their debts.
In October 2018, the government published their plans for how these will work and released those for consultation. You can find out what we think of the proposals in our latest consultation briefing (PDF).
We'll continue to work to ensure that the final scheme works well for people in problem debt. In particular, we think:
- The scheme should be flexible enough so that protection doesn’t stop for people who need more time to enter a debt solution.
- There must not be any features which might put people off accessing the scheme – such as a public register of who is using it.
- Breathing Space and statutory plans should be built on existing debt advice infrastructure where possible, and administration of the scheme should not increase costs or divert funding away from the debt advice frontline.
Read more about our thoughts on the government's proposals in our post-consultation briefing (PDF), and on our Medium.com blog
Read our original recommendations for breathing space in our Breathing Space report.