Debt and money advice

Money issues can be difficult if you don’t understand how things work or you need advice and don’t know where to go. The links below can help you plan better or get help if things are going wrong. If you are getting into debt, take action before your situation gets worse. You’ll find guidance on what to do on the Citizens Advice website, for instance. Also you can find information on benefits that you may be eligible for.

Breathing Space (debt respite scheme)

The government has announced a new breathing space scheme, this comes into force on 4 May 2021. Anyone seeking professional debt advice and engaging with a plan to work through their financial problems would get a break, in some cases of up to a year from new fees and charges on their debts. This can give you time to help you focus on what to do next while you deal with your debt problems, without the worry of receiving calls from creditors demanding payments.

A breathing space can be obtained if:

  • An individual cannot or is unlikely to be able to repay their debts and a debt adviser considers a breathing space appropriate – the standard breathing space
  • An approved Mental Health Professional certifies that a person is receiving mental health crisis treatment – the mental health breathing space

A standard breathing space is available to anyone with problem debt. It gives them legal protections from creditor action for up to 60 days. The protections include pausing most enforcement action and contact from creditors and freezing most interest and charges on their debts.

A mental health crisis breathing space is only available to someone who is receiving mental health crisis treatment and it has some stronger protections. It lasts as long as the person's mental health crisis treatment, plus 30 days (no matter how long the crisis treatment lasts).

Applying for a breathing space

If you wish to apply for a standard breathing space, you will need to seek debt advice from a debt adviser

If you wish to apply for a mental health crisis breathing space, you do not need to access debt advice first. An Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) can provide evidence on your behalf to a debt adviser to start a mental health breathing space. In addition you, your representative, a Social Worker, Carer, Mental Health Nurse can apply for a mental health crisis breathing space.

Local help

Citizens Advice offers free general advice and help with case work on welfare benefits, housing and debt as well as general help on family law, consumer issues, employment, personal injury, immigration and other legal issues.

 Our libraries, Mottingham Community and Learning Shop and Cotmandene Community Resource Centre may be able to signpost you to further advice.

Lewisham & Bromley Credit Union
A financial co-operative run for the benefit of people living or working in SE19, SE20, SE26, BR1 and BR3. The credit union encourages savings and provides lower cost loans. Telephone:  020 8778 4738

Bromley Borough Foodbank - Provides food and support to people experiencing crisis in the borough.

Benefits grants and allowances

Information about  the different benefits and allowances  and grants available, including council tax, housing benefit, depending on your needs and your circumstances.

The GOV.UK website provides information about carers and disability benefits that are available. Find out more on the GOV.UK website

Redundancy

If you have been made redundant or are facing redundancy there is a range of redundancy advice and help available to you.

General advice

Advice Guide website
The main public information service of Citizens Advice, providing people with round-the-clock access to CAB information on their rights - including benefits, housing and employment, debt and consumer and legal issues.

GOV.UK
The website of the UK government providing information and online services for the public. The website includes advice on;

National Debt line and website 0808 808 4000  The helpline and website provide free confidential and independent advice on how to deal with debt problems.

The Money Helper Service provides specific advice and support around a range of money issues, including redundancy, retirement and divorce.  It also offers free information sessions and an online money health check to help people manage their finances better

Money saving advice

  • There are several grants and discount schemes available to homeowners in Bromley.
  • Take advantage of the free internet service available at Bromley Libraries.
  • Our Sports and Leisure Centres  can be used on a play and pay basis and may offer cheaper alternatives to the private sector.
  • Citizen's advice consumer helpline -  provides practical consumer advice including money, credit and buying advice.
  • Re-assess your incomings and outgoings. This does not just have to include mortgages, loans and credit cards, cutting down on things such as utility bills can also make a considerable difference.
  • There are price comparison websites that can help you assess everything from mortgage rates to supermarket shopping to see that you are getting the best deals.
  • Prioritise your bills