Scottishtrustdeed.co.uk, a leading debt advice company is welcoming the new Debt Respite Bill proposed by Kelly Tolhurst MP, and said it can’t be implemented quick enough.
The new debt respite bill which is due to be implemented by February 2018 strives to place a duty of care on lenders to grant respite for families with children and young people in debt.
Kelly Tolhurst MP has proposed a bill in parliament that aims to give families and young people breathing space when trying to make debt repayments. At present, record numbers of people are affected by debt in the UK. High interest charges, fees and enforcement actions can make it increasingly more difficult for even the smallest debts to be settled.
“Debt in the UK is an escalating problem and the amount of money that people are borrowing is on the rise. In December, figures from the Bank of England showed consumer debt stood at nearly £193bn” said a spokesperson for Scottishtrustdeed.co.uk.
“Bailiffs and Debt collectors such as Scott and Co coming to collect debts before they’ve had chance to seek advice strikes fear into the most vulnerable of people, if passed, the new bill will give respite to millions of families across the UK and help create a more stable home life for their children” concluded the spokesperson.
The bill has been welcomed by the Children’s Society at a time when one in five debt laden families cannot afford food, heating or electricity as a direct result of unaffordable repayments.
The charity asserts ‘when families fall into debt, parents often face impossible choices between keeping their children fed, warm and clothed or paying off their debts. This can lead to debts spiraling out of control, with interest rates and charges piling up’.
The bill also proposes a hold on enforcement action. Some actions have been known to scare children through the intimidation techniques sometimes used.
Whilst the stress and worry of large debts can affect the mental health of anyone in a family unit, children can be left particularly vulnerable. The charity continues ‘problem debt across the country is putting the mental health and well-being of children at risk, with almost a quarter of children in problem debt-ridden households feeling unhappy with their lives.’ With the opportunity to gain control of mounting debts by finding an affordable payment plan, the bill aims to lessen the effects financial problems can have on children.
Debt is an increasing problem in the UK where a rise in the use of payday loans and other forms of low quality credit have been seen. Additionally, out of control debt can start for a multitude of unassuming reasons – a family member being taken ill for example – but it can be the interest payments that mean that the debt reaches unaffordable levels.
Ms Tolhurst maintains that without such high fees and charges, debts will stand a better chance of being repaid and not written off through bankruptcy. She sees this bill as a win-win situation for all. Creditors are more likely to recoup their outgoings, families can pay off their expensive debts and the state benefits too from having less pressure put on already stretched services like social housing.
The government is currently calling for evidence on how the breathing space can be implemented.