Emma Hardy, the MP for Hull West and Hessle, has called on the government to get their Breathing Space scheme right.
Emma was speaking during the Financial Guidance and Claims Bill on Monday afternoon and based her contribution on addressing Clauses 7 and 8 of the bill. Clauses 7 and 8 allow the government to bring in a statutory debt respite scheme.
On this government’s watch, household debt is now higher as a percentage of disposable income than at any time since 2008 and figures show that nearly 4000 families in Hull live in problem debt.
The stress of not knowing what demands a letter contains and never being sure if it’s the bailiffs at the door can sour relationships, destroy families and make people ill.
In her speech, Emma made three asks of the government:
- The scheme must be applicable to all relevant debts including central and local government debts.
- The scheme must make sure that the government’s consultation, while thorough, is as quick as possible.
- The scheme must make sure that the breathing space is long enough to provide time for families to stabilise their finances and that support is in place to allow them to pay their debts in a manageable way.
Commenting on the bill, Emma said “We must get this bill right. To not do so would not be in the interests of our economy which already struggles with high levels of personal debt. It would not be in the interests of the creditors, because statistics from Scotland show they collect more of what is owed to them when a payment plan is followed. And it would definitely, definitely not be in the interests of the many families in my constituency of Hull West and Hessle who are drowning in an ocean of personal debt. The government finds itself in the rare position of enjoying cross party support and with the rare opportunity to make my constituents’ lives a little easier. On their behalf, I ask the Secretary of State to act quickly and take the opportunity to help them.”