A leading children’s charity has revealed that 8,518 children in Wythenshawe and Sale East are living in families affected by toxic problem debt.
And MP, Mike Kane has backed calls for a new scheme to help the families regain control of their finances as data from the Bank of England shows unsecured household debt rising at its fastest rate since the financial crisis.
An analysis by The Children’s Society estimates that 4,920 families in the constituency are affected by problem debt and the charity says that children in low-income families with multiple debts are more likely to suffer from mental health problems than equivalent families with fewer debts.
The rise in personal borrowing has led to mounting concern that households who get into debt need safer ways to manage financial difficulties.
Wythenshawe’s Labour MP has joined calls in parliament to introduce a ‘Breathing Space’ scheme – supported by The Children’s Society and StepChange Debt Charity – that would offer people seeking debt advice a 12-month legal protection from mounting interest, charges and enforcement action. It would build on protections offered under the Debt Arrangement Scheme in Scotland, which has made sure that families sticking to an affordable repayment plan agreed with their creditors are not harried or hassled for the duration of that plan.
Mr Kane said: “It is just not right that children’s mental health and happiness is suffering as a result of creditors unfairly escalating people’s debt problems.
“Families in problem debt need time and space to get back on their feet. By providing a period free from additional interest, charges and enforcement action, a new Breathing Space scheme would help families recover their financial situation and put in place a plan to affordably repay their debts.
“I’m pleased that the Breathing Space proposal has widespread cross-party support. The Government now needs to act by putting a comprehensive Breathing Space scheme in place.”