A new Government scheme called Breathing Space has been launched today to help some 700,000 people who struggle with problem debt across England and Wales.
The Breathing Space scheme will give those facing financial difficulty some 60 days to get their finances back on track whilst guaranteeing a pause in enforcement action. Most interest and penalty charges will be frozen, and enforcement action halted.
The scheme will also provide tailored debt advice or mental health support for those suffering from debt.
The scheme can be accessed by simply contacting a professional debt advisor. Given this may not be possible for someone in mental health crisis treatment, an approved mental health professional can also certify that someone is receiving treatment and then a debt advice provider can consider whether they are eligible for the scheme.
Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com and the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, said:
Debt is far more than just a financial issue. It’s a major cause of relationship breakdown, can hugely diminish people’s well-being, and sadly leaves 100,000s at risk of taking their own lives. That’s why Breathing Space is so important. It’s a win-win-win; for individuals who get their finances back on track, creditors who’ll recoup more cash in the long run, and the economy as there will be less financial catastrophe.
I’m especially thrilled that our Money and Mental Health Policy Institute suggestion for Recovery Space is coming into fruition as part of this. That means from now on, everyone receiving NHS crisis care for their mental health can recover without being hassled for escalating debt, fees and charges. Finally, people returning home after being hospitalised for their mental health, can do it safe in the knowledge there’s no threat or reality of bailiffs knocking.