Laura Sharman 06 February 2020

New 60-day 'breathing space period' for those in problem debt

People in problem debt, including those that owe money to local authorities, are to get two months ‘breathing space’ under Government plans.

The new breathing space period will freeze interest, fees and enforcement for people in problem debt. During this period, people will receive professional debt advice to help with their financial difficulties.

The scheme will be introduced in 2021 and is expected to help 700,000 people in its first year, with up to 50,000 people in mental health crisis treatment to get professional help.

Joanna Elson, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, said: ‘Breathing Space will provide a powerful new incentive for people in problem debt to seek the free advice they need, and give them the time and protections necessary to get back on the road to financial health.

‘We are particularly pleased that debts to local authorities and other government creditors will be included. Breathing Space will make a real difference to people in problem debt – and we look forward to playing our part in making this scheme a success.’

Those receiving mental health crisis treatment will see their protections extended until their treatment is complete.

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