Breathing Space - support for residents
The Government's Breathing Space scheme intends to give an individual with debt problems, legal protection from their creditors during the breathing space period.
What is Breathing Space?
- From Tuesday 4 May, the government's Breathing Space scheme is going live. The scheme intends to give an individual in problem debt legal protections from their creditors during the breathing space period.
- There are 2 different types of breathing space, standard or mental health crisis breathing space.
- A standard breathing space lasts 60 days from approved application, a mental health crisis breathing space lasts as long as the persons mental health crisis treatment + 30 days.
How does an individual apply from Breathing Space?
- Individuals can only access breathing space by seeking the advice of a Financial Conduct Authority recognised Debt Advice Provider.
- Anyone who cannot or is unlikely to repay their debts can apply to a debt adviser for a standard breathing space.
- All applications must be considered by the debt advice provider, although after review the debt adviser may decide that breathing space is not appropriate for the debtor.
- Mental health crisis applications can also be made on behalf of an individual, by representatives including; Mental Health Professional, Carer, Social workers, Individuals representative.
- If an Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) certifies that a person is receiving mental health crisis treatment, the AMHP's evidence can be used by a debt adviser to start a mental health crisis breathing space.
Key points about an active breathing space moratorium
- Creditors must stop all recovery and enforcement action on qualifying debts for the duration of the breathing space moratorium
- Creditors must not contact the debtor in relation to collecting a moratorium debt
- Creditors can contact the debt adviser regarding the breathing space moratorium
- Creditors can contact the debtor for purposes unrelated to moratorium, such as ongoing liabilities or invoicing/recovery for debts after the breathing space period started.
- The breathing space will automatically end after 60 days (Open ended for Mental Health), and then arrangements put in place to recover outstanding debt
- Debts that have not been invoiced at the time of the breathing space start date (ongoing debt) and other non-qualifying debts can be recovered during the breathing space period. Creditors can expect to be contacted by the creditor about non-qualifying debts during the breathing space period.
Support contacts for residents
- Citizens Advice Hillingdon
The Citizens Advice Bureau provides advice on utility bills, employment, immigration and debt. They can also assist with the completion of application forms.
- Step Help Free
Step Help Free provides free expert debt help.
- Rethink Mental Illness
Mental health specialist debt advice provider.
- Mental Health Support
Email email@example.com or call 0800 0234 650.
- West London Mental Health Services
A range of mental health services in West London.
- Council tax support
Information on eligibility for reduced council tax.
- Benefits support
Our benefits calculator will help you find out what benefits you are entitled to.
For more information on Breathing Space, visit the GOV.uk website