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A Guide To Breathing Space

Breathing space, also known as the Debt Respite scheme, became available from 4 May 2021. The scheme provides legal protection to protect people, who are struggling with their debts, from their creditors. 

Breathing space is separated into two areas: standard breathing space and mental health. Standard breathing space is simply breathing space. 


The 5 main points


There is a lot of governmental information that relates to the breathing space scheme. 

▪ It is a NEW government approved scheme

▪ It comes into operation on MAY 4

▪ It offers temporary legal protection against CREDITORS  

▪ It puts a temporary freeze on most INTERESTS and CHARGES on your debt

▪ Legal protections are in place for 60 DAYS

Standard Breathing Space:

For anyone with problem debt.

Legal protections against the actions of creditors for upto 60 days.

Protections will put a halt to enforcement action, creditor contact, and they put a freeze on most interest and charges on their debt.

Mental Health Breathing Space:

For anyone receiving mental health crisis treatment.

Has stronger protections than standard breathing space.

Lasts as long as the person’s mental health crisis treatment, with 30 days on top of that treatment.

The following advice is verified by the government. This advice is taken from The Debt Respite Scheme (Breathing Space Moratorium and Mental Health Crisis Moratorium) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020.

We do not provide guidance for mental health breathing space, only the traditional form of breathing space. This is because we do not have Approved Mental Health Professionals as a part of our team. 


Debts included in Breathing Space:

Credit Cards

Store Cards

Personal Loans

Mortgage Arrears

Payday Loans


Utility Bill Arrears

Rent Arrears

1. Tell us you want to apply

You confirm that you want to apply for Breathing Space, and we’ll let you know which of your debts can be included.

2. We’ll submit your application.

Your application will be sent to the insolvency service who will process your Breathing Space.

3. Your Breathing Space starts.

Once you’re registered with the scheme, your creditors will be contacted within a few days.

4. While you’re on Breathing Space

You’ll need to continue making payments toward your debts, as the scheme is not a payment holiday.


The Plan


It is forecasted that Breathing Space will help 700,000 people within its first year, with that figure rising to 1.2-million in the tenth year of its life cycle. 

Equally, each year, between 25,000 and 50,000 people are expected to benefit from the breathing space mental health regulations that have been put into place. 

A 60-day breathing space period will see enforcement action from creditors halted and interest frozen for people with problem debt. During this period, individuals will receive professional debt advice to find a long-term solution to their financial difficulties.

Initial responses Breathing Space


The Economic Secretary to the Treasury, John Glen, said:

“Being trapped in debt can be an incredibly difficult experience, and with interest and potential enforcement action to contend with, it’s no surprise how stressful the impact can be.

Today’s figures underline just how critical it is that we roll out this policy, particularly on a day like today, where we should all work to reduce the stigma of mental health issues.

That’s why we will introduce breathing space in early 2021 as planned, so we can level up the whole country and help millions of people to rid themselves of problem debt.”

“I wouldn't hesitate to use them again. They are always at the end of a text or phone call . They were very informative throughout the process and extremely helpful”

LindsayFirst Class

Joanna Elson OBE, 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.”


Craig Simmons, Head of Debt Policy and Strategy at the Money and Pensions Service, said:

“Having worked on the policy behind Breathing Space, it’s great to see it coming into effect in 2021. We welcome the fact that many people will benefit from 60 days without contact from their creditors. In this time, they can get debt advice and put a plan of action in place, all without further interest and charges being added to their debts.

“Breathing space has a particular role in helping those struggling with mental health and money problems to receive appropriate support. This policy is one of many landscape shifting initiatives we expect to see as part of the UK Strategy for Financial Wellbeing, and we continue to trial, deliver and promote other interventions which can make a real difference to people’s lives.”

The following guidance has been taken from the UK Government website.

Business Helpline specialises in providing debt advice tailored to the needs of each customer, based on their individual financial circumstances.

We do not charge for our advice or directly provide debt solution products, we offer our customers no-obligation referrals to trusted providers of appropriate solutions and (as a commercial firm) receive a referral fee from debt solution providers for any successful customer referrals.

*A follow-up call will be required to confirm details outlined in your enquiry, at which point we will be able to discuss which solutions you qualify for.


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