MP calls for help for families in debt
Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell is supporting a new scheme called Breathing Spaces to help families in debt regain control of their finances.
The rise in personal borrowing has led to mounting concern that households who get into debt need safer ways to manage financial difficulties.
To help combat the issue, Mrs Ansell has joined calls in Parliament to introduce the Breathing Space scheme that would offer people seeking debt advice a 12-month legal protection from mounting interest, charges and enforcement action.
It would build on protections already offered under the Debt Arrangement Scheme in Scotland, which has made sure that families sticking to an affordable repayment plan agreed with their creditors are not harried or hassled for the duration of that plan.
Mrs Ansell said, “Figures from the Children’s Society has found children’s mental health and happiness is suffering as a result of creditors unfairly escalating people’s debt problems and this is a big worry.
“Families in problem debt need time and space to get back on their feet. By providing a period free from additional interest, charges and enforcement action, it would help families recover their financial situation and put in place a plan to affordably repay their debts.
“This is an initiative that has widespread cross-party support, including from the Work and Pensions Select Committee and the APPG on Debt and Personal Finance.
“I would very much like to see the Government putting a comprehensive Breathing Space scheme in place and I will be talking to ministers about what they intend to do.”
Data from the Bank of England shows unsecured household debt rising at its fastest rate since 2006, leaving people who experience sudden changes in circumstances such as job loss or ill health vulnerable.
There can be pressure from creditors to repay debts at an unaffordable rate leading families to cut back on everyday essentials like food or fall behind on essential bills.