Blackburn MP Kate Hollern has recently warned of the devastating effect of family debt on more than 5,000 children in her constituency.
There was a special debate in the House of Commons with regard to MP Kelly Tolhurst’s Private Members Bill which proposed to introduce a “breathing space scheme” for families with debt problems.
The proposal is to give families with significant debt a time of respite from creditor action to rearrange their debts and finances and to introduce tighter procedures for the pursuit of debts where children are affected.
Mrs Hollern told the Commons “I can see the devastating effects of debt simply from my constituency case work. Blackburn, unfortunately, has more than 5,000 living in families with debt problems.”
“I have seen cases where a relatively small debt of a couple of hundred pounds has escalated to well over a thousand pounds in a very short time through court costs and bailiff costs”.
“I have seen sad cases where people have actually lost their homes”.
In addition to implementing this scheme and providing respite for families suffering from debt problems, the government must do more to offer security for people, both in and out of work, who suffer from poverty.
Debt stigmatises and isolates families and can reduced young peoples chances of developing into confident human beings who can contribute. I have worked with families whose children’s confidence has gone because the family has ended up in debt, often through no fault of their own.
The Treasury Minister Simon Kirby added “We all share an interest in helping people who have fallen into serious debts.”
“We have been exploring carefully a breathing space scheme to give people time to find a way to deal with their debts.” “All this emphasises the need for good debt advice provision within communities. As always, debt advice should be free, confidential and impartial.”