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Breathing Space

You could get up to 60 days' respite from interest, fees, and court action to reduce stress and give you time to deal with your debts.

Breathing Space, officially called the Debt Respite Scheme, is a government scheme which could help relieve some of the pressure and stress caused by being in debt. Here, you can find everything you need to know about this scheme.

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National Debt Advice are not authorised to provide debt advice. Upon completion of our form your details will be passed to one of our authorised debt solution partners who will review your financial situation, explain the available options and recommend a debt solution which is suitable for you. We will be paid for introducing you or for the preparatory work we do, depending on your debt solution fees may be payable if ongoing services are provided.


To find out more about managing your money and getting free debt advice, visit Money Helper, an independent service set up to help people manage their money. National Debt Advice is not associated with Money Helper.

What is Breathing Space?

The Debt Respite Scheme, or Breathing Space aims to help relieve some of the pressure of dealing with your creditors, so you can focus on getting debt advice and setting up your debt solution without worrying about being chased for payment or incurring extra charges.


It's a free scheme, launched by the Government on 4 May 2021.


If you pass the eligibility checks, your creditors won't be able to add interest or fees to your debts, or take enforcement action, for 60 days.

You'll still need to keep making your regular payments if you can afford to.

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Am I eligible for Breathing Space?

Breathing Space isn't available to everyone. There are certain criteria you need to meet to benefit from the Breathing Space scheme.

To be eligible you must:

Live in England or Wales

Owe at least one qualifying debt to a creditor

You must not:

Have been on the Breathing Space scheme in the past 12 months (not including mental health Breathing Space)

Be on a debt relief order (DRO)

Have an individual voluntary arrangement (IVA)

Be subject to an interim order

Be an undischarged bankrupt

Important reminder: Breathing Space will only protect you for 60 days, so it's important to make sure you complete your debt advice and send in your paperwork as soon as possible, so we can set up your chosen solution.

How do I apply for Breathing Space?

Should you want to apply for Breathing Space, it’s important to know:

If you have joint debts, you must tell your partner, and have their consent

Some creditors may restrict access to further credit while you’re on Breathing Space

You must make sure you tell us about all your debts

If you're eligible and decide to apply, you’ll then be taken through the Breathing Space application process when you get help from us online or by phone.


One of our approved partners will recommend the best solution for your situation and let you know if you're eligible to apply for the Breathing Space scheme.

Which debts qualify for Breathing Space?

Many debts will qualify for Breathing Space, but there are some exceptions. Take a look at the list below to find out which debts are not eligible.

Which debts don’t qualify for Breathing Space?


The following debts are not eligible for Breathing Space:

Secured debts (but the arrears on secured debts do qualify)

Debts incurred after your Breathing Space started

Debts incurred because of fraud

Court fines (penalty charge notices like parking tickets do qualify)

Obligations from a confiscation order

A crisis or budgeting loan

Student Loans

Personal Injury Damages

Advance payments on Universal Credit

Council Tax Liabilities that are not due yet

Child maintenance or money owed under an order from family court proceedings

Here’s an idea of what the process looks like:

Get Started

Complete the Debt Calculator 

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You Choose

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