Debt charity welcomes May launch for Breathing Space scheme

The Money Advice Trust, the charity that runs National Debtline and Business Debtline, has welcomed the government’s confirmation that the new statutory Breathing Space scheme will go live on 4th May 2021.

The news, confirmed in regulations laid in Parliament today, will mean that people in problem debt will be able to access 60 days of protection from interest, charges and creditor action while they seek debt advice. Debt charities have long campaigned for the scheme, which will cover almost all creditors and will be followed by the establishment of statutory debt repayment plans at a later date.

Joanna Elson OBE, chief executive of the Money Advice Trust, the charity that runs National Debtline and Business Debtline, said: “Breathing Space will provide the time and protections that people in financial difficulty need to begin to deal with their debts, and gives us a powerful tool to incentivise people to seek free debt advice. We welcome the government’s commitment to launch the scheme on 4th May 2021, and look forward to continuing to work with the Insolvency Service on its implementation.

“As households deal with the economic and financial impact of the Covid-19 crisis, the benefits that Breathing Space will bring cannot come soon enough. We now need similar clarity on the timetable for the introduction of statutory debt repayment plans – as well as urgent action to reform government debt collection practices – to keep up the welcome progress on this agenda.”