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Breathing Space Scheme is Debt assistance that provides space to seek help.

In a nutshell

The Breathing Space Scheme provides protection from further interest, charges and enforcement action on debt problems for a period of 42 days, while debtors seek advice.

To qualify for breathing Space Scheme, debtors will need to:

  • Access debt advice
  • Be assessed as having problem debt by a debt advisor
  • Not have accessed the scheme in the past 12 months 

The breathing space scheme for those with mental health issues…

Recent research into debt problems found that there are more than three million adults in the UK who have both mental health issues and financial difficulties – a number that increases by the day.

This hasn’t gone unnoticed by Martin Lewis, who’s widely considered to provide the best debt advice in the UK. As chair for MoneySavingExpert and the Mental Health Policy Institute, he campaigned for government action for those with debt problems who also suffer from mental health problems. The successful result of their work was a change in the eligibility of the ‘Breathing Space Scheme’ for those with mental health issues, who won’t need to have previously sought help, nor will they be assessed by a debt agency.


“Stopping those in mental health crisis being hassled over debts will be a huge help, aiding their recovery, and in due course should also improve their likelihood of repaying what they owe one day. It’s a win-win”.
Martin Lewis on the Breathing Space Scheme – MoneySavingExpert

What debt problems is this debt help suitable for?

This is the best debt help for those who need time, space and protection from creditors while they address their debt.

Our debt expert’s opinion on the pros and cons of Breathing Space Scheme…

Advantages of breathing Space Scheme

  • The scheme could help debtors in crisis by providing the necessary time to begin dealing with their debt with the help of debt advisors.

Disadvantages of breathing Space Scheme

  • While it was first put forward in the 2017 Conservative Party Manifesto to help those suffering debt problems, the Breathing Space Scheme isn’t yet live.

Worried about debts that won't go away?

FAQs – Breathing Space Scheme


    • What are the aims of the Breathing Space Scheme?

The Breathing Space Scheme will allow people the time needed to recover from debt. The government hopes that it will aid their return to work, help them recover from illness, and rearrange their finances to improve their circumstances.

    • What is the proposed process of the Breathing Space Scheme?

It’s planned that debtors will access the Breathing Space Scheme via a debt agency, where a debt advisor will assess their eligibility. However, those who suffer from mental health won’t need to meet the same criteria.

    • Will the Breathing Space Scheme cost anything?

No – the debt advice agencies will be those who provide their services free from charge.

*An Individual Voluntary Arrangement (‘IVA’) is subject to the customer meeting qualifying criteria and gaining creditor acceptance. Monthly IVA payments include fees and may differ to the example provided, based on the assessment made of your own personal circumstances – these fees will be clearly explained to you in writing by your IVA company. Debt write off amounts are subject to creditor acceptance and vary by individual customer based on their own financial circumstances, and are applied upon successful IVA completion.

Substantiation example, Someone owes £60,000, they pay £100 over 60 months which equals £6000, write off amount would be £54,000 which is 90% of total debt level. Upon submitting your details on this website we will pass your details to one of our approved partners as this website does not give any advice.

Free debt counseling, debt adjusting and credit information services are available from the Money Advice Service.

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