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What is Breathing Space?

The “Debt Respite Scheme” (as it is officially known) is a Government scheme setup to help consumers who are struggling and under financial pressure from their creditors.

The Scheme aims to give a little extra time for people in this situation and protection from creditors who are chasing them and charging extra fees.

This ‘breathing space’ is there to help people get a short break in order to get debt advice and set up the right debt solution.

How can I use it?

Breathing Space is an application and as such, not everybody is eligible; checks will be made to ensure it is right for you.

If you are successful, Breathing Space will give you a 60-day respite and in that time, your creditors won’t be able to add interest or fees to your debts, or take enforcement action.

It is important to understand, Breathing Space is not a payment holiday, so you’ll have to continue paying your debts during this time, but it does prevent action from being taken against you if you’re unable to pay.

There is a separate scheme available if you a currently in a mental health crisis.  If an approved mental health professional confirms you are receiving crisis care, an application may be made to pause enforcement action for as long as you are receiving care, plus 30 days.

The Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space can be applied for more than once in a 12-month period, and a standard Breathing Space may still be applied for once the crisis is over, should this be required.

How does Breathing Space work?

If you want to apply for Breathing Space, call us, and we’ll guide you through the eligibility checks. If you’re eligible for Breathing Space, we’ll submit your application on your behalf.

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What are the criteria?
You must

Live in England or Wales and owe at least one qualifying debt to a creditor

And you must not

  • Have been on the Breathing Space scheme in the past 12 months (not including Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space)
  • Be on a debt relief order (DRO) – Have an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA)
  • Be subject to an interim order
  • Be an undischarged bankrupt

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Money Helper has replaced the Money Advice Service and brings together the support and services of three government-backed financial guidance providers: the Money Advice Service, the Pensions Advisory Service and Pension Wise.