People in problem debt get 60-day break scheme

A new "breathing space" scheme has begun in England and Wales to shield people in problem debt from further interest and charges.

People receiving debt advice can apply for the break, which lasts for up to 60 days, to prevent them falling into a spiral of debt.

The Treasury has estimated that up to 700,000 people could be helped by the scheme in its first year.

People receiving treatment for mental health issues can get more help.

The separate system for those receiving mental health crisis treatment lasts for the length of that treatment, plus another 30 days.

Debt charities have campaigned for years for the full introduction of a breathing space scheme, after watching people borrow more money to pay the interest and charges on existing debt.

Under the scheme, these extra costs will be paused and no enforcement action can be taken, if a debt adviser agrees that a breathing space period is appropriate.

It can only be used once during a 12-month period, and the government has stressed that it is not a payment holiday. Regular bills such as mortgage, rent, utility bills and taxes should still be paid according to their timeframes.

Posted on May 03, 2021.

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