Hundreds of people have been helped with problem debt in Doncaster

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In May 2021, the government launched its debt relief program, which entitled people who couldn’t pay their debts to a “breathing space,” meaning creditors can’t take legal action against them while they sort out their finances.

There are two types of respites – a “standard” type, which provides up to 60 days of legal protection from collection, and one for those receiving treatment for a mental health crisis.

The latter provides protection for the duration of treatment and for 30 days afterwards.

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In May 2021, the government launched its debt relief program, which entitled people who couldn’t pay their debts to a “breathing space”.

Data from the government’s bankruptcy service shows that between May 2021 and April this year, 428 people in Doncaster were granted respite.

That means 17.4 were launched for every 10,000 people in the area.

Respite can only be granted by an organization that provides advice and support on debt — like StepChange, a debt relief agency responsible for two-thirds of all respite in the first 12 months of the program.

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Sue Anderson, the charity’s head of media, said while there were “lessons to be learned” from the program’s first year, it was broadly a success.

However, she warned that inflation is pushing more people into debt.

“The steep rise in the cost of living has increased the risk of falling into problem debt – more acute for financially vulnerable households, with StepChange data showing that the cost of living is now the second most cited reason for debt among new customers, up from the sixth most common for the year 2021,” she added.

Almost 64,000 breathers were granted across England and Wales in the year to the end of April – including more than 1,000 for people experiencing a mental health crisis.

This included 6,598 across Yorkshire and The Humber.

London had the least population at 9.8 per 10,000 people, while the North East had the most at 17.9.

Citizen’s Advice, which supports people on various money issues, managed another 15% of all breathers.

It recommends people check if Ebts are covered by the system and speak to an advisor to discuss their options.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more important than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the important questions by subscribing or buying a newspaper. We stick together. Dominic Brown, editor.

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