On the 24th February 2017 the Families with Children and Young People in Debt (Respite) Bill received its second reading in the House of Commons. It aims to give families with problem debts a “breathing space” of a year .The Bill aims to stop lenders adding any more interest and charges to debts for a year. Lenders also wouldn’t be able to take the matter further from a legal point of view within that year, by trying to enforce the debt. Enforcement action includes doing things like sending bailiffs round to your house and taking money straight from your wages or benefits.
This breathing space might last for even longer than a year, if someone can show that they can repay their debts in a way that’s affordable for them and within a reasonable time period. However, this would only be allowed when it was recommended by a debt advice agency.
The aim of this 12 month grace period is to allow people to get their affairs in order and put together a plan to repay their debts without the stress of collections influencing their decision making or the fear their debt situation may get worse. Proponents of the Bill hope this will mean that people in debt are in fact more likely to pay their debts, making the situation better for both them and their creditors in the long run.