Worcester’s MP Robin Walker has welcomed the announcement from City Minister John Glen, which will see steps being taken to assist individuals and families struggling with problem debt to receive extra time and support to get their finances under control.

The new plans will see the introduction of a 60-day ‘Breathing Space’ period from 2021, whereby people with problem debt will be protected from enforcement action from creditors and see their interest frozen.

During this period individuals must engage with professional debt advisers, so they can find a long-term solution to their debts and get back on track with payments.

As part of these plans, and to acknowledge the links between problem debt and mental health issues, individuals receiving NHS treatment for mental health crisis will not need to seek debt advice during the 60-day period. Those experiencing mental health issues will continue to receive the same ‘Breathing Space’ protections, which will last for the whole of their treatment.

Robin has long advocated for stronger measures to be implemented around problem debt and chaired the All-Party campaign for credit unions. In his capacity as Chair of this group, and as a voice for constituents in Worcester, Robin frequently spoke in Parliament in support of community-based organisations which help ensure people save and borrow at reasonable rates. 

Commenting on the new announcements, Robin said:

“As a long-standing supporter of affordable lending and former chair of the All-Party Group on Credit Unions, I wholeheartedly welcome these measures which will provide a much-needed relief from what can be immense pressure on individuals and families who are struggling to get their finances under control.”

“I am glad that this Government recognises the importance of protective and preventative debt management, and I am especially happy to see extra provisions for those suffering with mental health issues.”

“The 60-day Breathing Space will provide a powerful incentive for people to seek debt advice, safe in the knowledge they will be given the time and statutory protections they need to begin to resolve their financial difficulty.”

City Minister, John Glen MP, said:

“Problem debt can have a devastating impact of people’s lives, putting a huge burden on individuals which can lead to family breakdown, stress and mental health issues.”

“No one should be stuck in an endless cycle of debt and facing the ever-looming threat of invasive debt collectors. That’s why I’m introducing this new scheme, giving everyone access to the advice, time and support they need to both get their finances under control and get away from the perpetual stress and worry debt can cause.”

ENDS

For more information on the announcement, please see:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/individuals-to-be-protected-from-devastating-impact-of-problem-debt

For Robin’s previous statements on debt and affordable credit, please see:

https://www.walker4worcester.com/category/campaigns/affordable-credit/