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What is Breathing Space?

The The Debt Respite Scheme (Breathing Space Moratorium and Mental Health Crisis Moratorium) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020, known more commonly as Breathing Space, was introduced to give people with debt problems a short term legal protection from their creditors, allowing them the 'breathing space' to investigate their options.

There are two types of breathing space: a standard breathing space, and a breathing space specifically for people suffering a mental health crisis.

A standard breathing space is available to anyone with problem debt. It gives them legal protections from creditor action for up to 60 days. The protections include pausing most enforcement action and contact from creditors and freezing most interest and charges on their debts.

A mental health crisis breathing space is only available to someone who is receiving mental health crisis treatment and it has some stronger protections. It lasts as long as the person's mental health crisis treatment, plus an extra 30 days, even if the crisis treatment goes on for a long time.

However, you cannot simply decide you need breathing space. Breathing space can only be started by a debt advice provider who is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to offer debt counselling, or a local authority who provides debt advice to residents. It is a formal procedure, which you need to apply for.

Once you are in breathing space, all of your creditors are notified, and they must cease all debt recovery action for the term of the breathing space.

Further information about Breathing Space can be found here......

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