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At a glance: Breathing Space gives you up to 60 days to get debt advice without making payments to your debts.
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This summary covers England and Wales
To view information that covers Scotland, please click here.

What is Breathing Space?

Breathing Space is a government scheme. It means creditors must stop collecting debts you have with them and must not contact you for 60 days while you get advice. They will also have to freeze interest and charges on any debts during this time.  

Most types of debt can be included in Breathing Space. For secured debts, such as a mortgage, your missed payments can be included, but you will need to make your ongoing payments. 

During Breathing Space, you need to decide how to deal with your debts. To do this you will need to do a budget. If this shows you can’t afford your payments, we’ll tell you which debt options are suitable for you. 

Do I qualify for Breathing Space?

To qualify for Breathing Space, you must: 

  • live in England or Wales 
  • be unable to repay some or all your debts ‘as they fall due’ 
  • not be in a Debt Relief Order, Individual Voluntary Arrangement or be an undischarged bankrupt 
  • not have had Breathing Space in the last year. 

You will need to apply for Breathing Space through a debt adviser, like National Debtline. Your debt adviser must agree that: 

  • you need time to get debt advice 
  • you are likely to find an option to pay your debts. 

If you are up to date with your bills and can afford them, Breathing Space is not an option for you. 

What you must do during Breathing Space

You must continue to pay your ongoing bills, such as: 

  • mortgage and rent payments 
  • council tax 
  • energy and water bills 
  • taxes, duties and National Insurance contributions 
  • insurance agreements 

When you are in Breathing Space:  

  • you must not borrow more than £500 
  • you must let your debt adviser know of any change in your circumstances, such as a new job or a change in your income 
  • you must keep talking to your debt adviser about sorting out your debt situation. 

Mental health crisis Breathing Space

This type of Breathing Space provides protection from creditors for people who are struggling with debts and who are also receiving mental health crisis treatment. You can only get this in very limited situations.

Applying for Breathing Space

You will need to speak to one of our trained debt advisers if you want Breathing Space. We can apply for you, contact us on 0808 808 4000. 

Learn more about this topic

If you want to learn more about this topic, you can read our in-depth guide.

Read in-depth-guide

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