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23rd February 2017 - Islwyn MP backs breathing space for families in problem debt

Islwyn MP backs breathing space for families in problem debtThe MP for Islwyn, Chris Evans, has thrown his support behind calls for a new ‘Breathing Space’ after writing to the Treasury urging them to publish a review into the scheme.

‘Breathing Space’ would help thousands of families recover from unmanageable debt by placing a temporary freeze on interest and enforcement action if they sought formal debt advice. It would also allow those in debt to avoid bankruptcy by setting up manageable and sustainable repayment plans. 

According to figures produced by the Bank of England, unsecured household debt is rising at its fastest rate since the 2008 financial crisis. This debt can lead to aggressive action from creditors who can demand unaffordable repayment rates.

Debt charity Step Change and The Children’s Society found that children living in families with problem debt levels are five times more likely to be unhappy than those who do not. Their research has also found that spiralling debt can lead to relationship breakdown alongside high stress and anxiety levels.

Mr Evans, who has campaigned for several years on the issue of personal debt, said: ‘Over the past few years, household debt has been rising to levels never before seen. Behind every unrepayable debt statistic is a family which faces ruin and children who have to experience turbulence and insecurity.

‘An initiative like the ‘Breathing Space’ scheme would give many families the chance they need to tackle their debts and get their lives back on track. This is clearly a good thing for the families concerned and the creditors who expect repayment.

‘The government must act now to make good on their promise to review the feasibility of this scheme and bring it into law as soon as possible.’

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