Frank Field MP
Your MP for Birkenhead
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Frank Field MP pushes for debt ‘breathing space’ to protect 8,100 children in Birkenhead from destitution


21 June 2017
Commons Chamber Frank Field MP is today pushing the Government to protect thousands of children in Birkenhead from destitution and other devastating effects of problem debt by offering their families much needed ‘breathing space’.

Frank first recommended the ‘breathing space’ policy – a period free from enforcement action, charges and collection lasting up to 12 months and followed by a statutory debt repayment plan – to the Government two years ago. He did so after a cross-party group of MPs and Peers, which he chairs, found that some families struggle to afford food because they are saddled with crippling levels of debt.

Frank has today tabled a parliamentary question asking the Government, which has been undertaking a detailed examination of it in recent months, to implement the policy with immediate effect. The Children’s Society, which has helped lead the ‘breathing space’ campaign, calculates that 8,100 children from 4,700 families in Birkenhead would be protected by the policy if it were introduced now. 

Frank comments: ‘A grim reality of life at the bottom is that too many families are now having to borrow money at grotesque levels of interest – not only to replace household furniture that is worn out or broken, but also to try and pull together a budget to feed their children each week. Once the letters start arriving through the post to call time on that debt, and the enforcement charges begin compounding it still further because they cannot repay it all, those families find it even more difficult to afford food.

‘A period of breathing space is therefore needed to help hard-up families get on top of their debts without having to worry about incurring even higher costs or being taken to court. This will ensure that debts are repaid more fairly and in a way which does not plunge families into destitution.’


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