Matthew Cheetham, CEO of Harrington Brooks, responded to the Government’s consultation on introducing a six-week break from interest and charges for those in serious debt:

“For those eight million people in the UK struggling with their finances, debt levels can quickly spiral out of control and become unmanageable. This can mean an immense amount of pressure on individuals as they struggle to work out their next steps and how they’re going to make ends meet. When this happens, people need urgent action to be taken so they can cope in the short term and seek advice about what to do going forwards.

“A six-week breathing space scheme is one way that the Government could help those people with problem debt be able to stop and take stock of their situation. They would then be able to have enough time to think clearly about their circumstances and seek qualified and expert advice about the best solution for them. And they could then be sure that they had all the facts before they made a decision.

“This works in a similar way to when our customers start on a Debt Management Plan. When customers give us a call and start a solution with us, we negotiate with their creditors to freeze their interest and charges for the duration of their plan. Creditors don’t have to do this but we work with them to ensure as much as possible that our customers get a positive outcome.

“And when we do agree with creditors to freeze interest and charges, this means that customers can take real steps to start clearing their debts. They can start getting their lives back on track and move towards a place of sustainable financial wellbeing.

“We’d also like to see all debts being dealt with equally in this way, no matter what type of lender or creditor they may be, including debts to the Government. Recently, we’ve seen an increase in customers coming to us with historical council tax debts, debts to the Inland Revenue, overpayments of benefits and debts that are repayable to local councils. We know the impact that struggling with these types of debts can have on customers.”

Free, confidential, no obligation advice

If you’re currently worried about your finances and ability to pay your priority debts, have unsecured debts from personal borrowing and would like to speak confidentially to an advisor, then please get in touch by calling 0800 048 1764. (Lines open Mon–Thurs: 8am–8pm, Fri: 8am-5.30pm).

The advisor will be able to talk to you about the benefits and considerations of a range of debt and personal insolvency solutions.

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