Give debt-laden families breathing space, says Christian charity

Thu 22 Sep 2016
By Alex Williams

Families in the UK facing the prospect of bailiffs at their door or mounting interest payments need a breathing space to take control of their debt, according to a Christian charity.  

The Children's Society is calling for a change in the law as it publishes a new report highlighting how family debts can affect the mental well-being of children.

Speaking to Premier Christian Radio, Kadra Abdinasir from the organisation said: "They face isolation because they can't attend social trips with their friends. They missing out on birthdays. Children feel really guilty and the strain about family arguments [about debt]."

In 'The Damage of Debt' document, the Children's Society warns how factors such as the fear of eviction and repeated phone calls or visits from bailiffs can have "lasting impacts on children and their mental health".

One child told The Children's Society: "You can't have everything you want, but the little things we couldn't get [either] because of the money situation and my mum having to pay bills and paying off her debt."

Meanwhile, a 15-year-old carer said: "I feel stressed and anxious about getting the money [for things]."

MPs are due on October 28th to debate in Parliament a Private Member's Bill proposed by the Conservative representative for Rochester and Strood, Kelly Tolhurst, urging for a new twelve month breathing space to be enshrined into law.

Supporting the bill, the Children's Society says its adoption into law would allow families respite from charges and calls from debt collectors, time to seek advice and an opportunity to arrange affordable repayments.

Kadra Abdinasir continued: "Over half a million children experience low well-being because their families are [affected by] multiple debts.

"That's why we're calling on the government to introduce this breathing space scheme, to allow families to get back on track and escape the debt trap."

Listen to Premier's Alex Williams speak to Kadra Abdinasir here: 

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