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2 April, 2020 Open access

‘Breathing space’ for people with problem debt to be extended from six weeks to six months under Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill

Bill, passed unanimously in Scottish Parliament yesterday, also removes the limitation on applying for breathing space more than once in a 12 month period

The 'breathing space' for people with problem debt is to be extended from six weeks to six months under the Coronavirus (Scotland) Bill.

Schedule 2 (introduced by section 3) to the Bill - which was passed unanimously in the Scottish Parliament yesterday - extends the current six-week period, that provides people and some businesses with breathing space to seek money advice and find longer-term solutions to repay debts, to six months. It also removes the limitation that means they can only apply for a breathing space once in a 12 month period.

NB - Section 11 of the Bill provides for these measures to expire on 30 September 2020 unless the Scottish Parliament extends this date, by way of regulations, to 31 March 2021 or 30 September 2021.

Commenting on the Bill, Constitution Secretary Michael Russell said - 

'Scotland is facing an unprecedented situation. This emergency Bill delivers necessary powers that will allow us to prioritise tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

People across the country have responded magnificently as we work together to save lives. It is in that spirit of co-operation and consensus that we have worked across Parliament to pass these vital - time-limited - measures,

By unanimously passing this Bill the Parliament has ensured practical help will be given to many businesses and to people struggling financially because of the crisis.'

For more information see MSPs support Emergency Coronavirus Bill from