New scheme launched to allow ‘Breathing Space’ for people in problem debt

04 May 2021
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4th May 2021 marks the introduction of a new scheme known as Breathing Space which aims to help people who are struggling to cope with problem debt by allowing them protection from their creditors so they can get advice or mental health treatment.

There are two types of breathing space: a standard breathing space and a mental health crisis breathing space.

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. This ensures they have the time for a professional debt adviser to put a suitable solution in place without pressure from creditors or spiralling costs. The debt solution could be anything from an affordable payment arrangement to insolvency.

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 30 days (no matter how long the crisis treatment lasts).

During the breathing space period, all ongoing liabilities such as rent, utilities, bills and ongoing debt repayments must continue to be paid. It is not a payment holiday and it only prevents the enforcement of debts.

The scheme is overseen by the Insolvency Service who have developed an online service to manage breathing space applications and notify creditors when someone starts a breathing space. They also manage which debt advice agencies can have access to their online service to offer breathing space.

If you are struggling to cope with debt, help and support is available. Although Warrington Housing Association cannot set up breathing space directly, you can email us at to arrange a call with our Money Advice Officer, Steven, who can advise on suitable options and signpost you to an organisation that can offer breathing space if this is appropriate.


“Thank you so much for your help in getting me set up in my new home” 

Anonymous – WHA Resident

“We’re really grateful for the excellent service we received from Warrington Housing Association’s Money Adviser and the extra money has made a big difference, helping us hire a gardener and be able to go to LifeTime more often where we enjoy singing in the choir”

Mr & Mrs Holland – WHiA Customers

“I’m so grateful to Warrington Housing Association for reaching out to me to make sure I’m claiming my full benefit entitlements”

Ms Heseltine – WHA Resident

“We couldn’t have navigated the benefits system without the fantastic help we received from Warrington Housing Association’s Money Adviser”

Andrew & Eileen – WHA Residents

“I felt like a big weight had been lifted off my shoulders and that I had somebody on my side”

Barbara, WHA resident

Warrington Housing Association 

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Tel: 01925 246810
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Warrington Housing Association, the Gateway, 89 Sankey Street, Warrington, WA1 1SR