Hundreds seek debt help in Northumberland

Hundreds seek debt advice.Hundreds seek debt advice.
Hundreds seek debt advice.
Hundreds of people in Northumberland sought legal protection after struggling with problem debt, new figures show.

Data from the Insolvency Service shows 364 people in the county were given a ‘breathing space’ between May 2021 and April under the terms of The Debt Respite Scheme – launched by the Government in 2021.

This means 13.7 were started for every 10,000 people in the area.

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The Debt Respite Scheme means that people unable to pay debts become eligible for a "breathing space", which means that creditors cannot pursue legal action against them while they sort their finances out.

Breathing spaces can only be granted by an organisation that gives advice and support on debt – such as the StepChange charity.

Sue Anderson, head of media at the charity, said the scheme, had broadly been a success but warned that inflation is pushing more people into debt.

She said: “Cost of living now the second most commonly cited reason for debt among new clients, up from the sixth most common in 2021.”

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Nationally, nearly 64,000 breathing spaces were granted in the year to the end of April – including more than 1,000 for people undergoing a mental health crisis and included 3,843 in the North East.

A Treasury spokesperson said: “We are proud of the breathing space scheme and understand that people are struggling with rising prices which is why we have acted to protect the eight million most vulnerable families through direct payments this year.”

For support with debt problems, go to or