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

For more information on Breathing Space, visit the GOV.uk website 

Page last updated: 30 Apr 2021