A total of 165 people in Stroud have accessed the government’s new Breathing Space scheme since it launched in May 2021, according to new official figures.
National Debtline – which is one of the free debt advice charities able to register people who are eligible for Breathing Space – is urging more people to seek advice as the cost of living crisis continues.
Breathing Space – also known as the Debt Respite Scheme – gives eligible people who contact debt advice services like National Debtline the time to seek advice and start to find a safe route out of debt, without being subject to creditor collection and enforcement activity. The scheme was launched in 2021 and provides up to 60 days protection, and pauses any additional charges or interest for that period.
In the last year, National Debtline has helped 99 people in Stroud tackle their debts by phone, including through the new Breathing Space scheme. To mark ‘Talk Money Week’, the charity-run service is urging Stroud residents who are worried about their finances to contact their debt advisers for free, independent advice as soon as possible.
Seeking advice has a positive, long-term impact, with, nine in ten National Debtline callers reporting that their debts reduce or stabilise – and seven in ten seeing a positive impact on their emotional and mental wellbeing.
David Cheadle, acting Chief Executive of National Debtline’s parent charity, the Money Advice Trust, said: “The cost of living crisis has had a huge impact on household finances and people in Stroud and right across the South West are struggling to cope. In the last 12 months alone, National Debtline advisers helped 99 people in Stroud through our free phone service – including registering people who are eligible for the government’s new Breathing Space scheme.
“But we know there are many more people who are struggling alone – and no one should have to do that. I would urge anyone in and around Stroud who is worried about their finances to contact our advisers at National Debtline, who can give you the advice and support you need.
“Our advisers are here to help – and can see if you are eligible for the Breathing Space scheme to give you the time and headspace you need to make a plan. Everyone’s situation is different, and even if you aren’t eligible for this particular scheme, our expert advisers can help find the best option for you.”
Stroud residents can speak to a National Debtline adviser for free, independent advice – including on the Breathing Space scheme – over the phone on 0808 808 4000, or get advice online at www.nationaldebtline.org