Hundreds of residents from Westmorland and Furness have been helped by a new government debt scheme.

The programme, called 'Breathing Space', has been accessed by 448 locals since its launch in May 2021.

The scheme gives eligible people who contact debt advice services like National Debtline the time to seek advice and start to find a safe route out of debt, without being subject to creditor collection and enforcement activity.

David Cheadle, acting chief executive of National Debtline’s parent charity, the Money Advice Trust, said:  “The cost of living crisis has had a huge impact on household finances, and people in Westmorland and Furness and right across Cumbria are struggling to cope.

"In the last 12 months alone, National Debtline advisers helped 122 people in Westmorland and Furness through our free phone service – including registering people who are eligible for the government’s new Breathing Space scheme."

The charity is now urging more people to take the free advice as the Cost of Living Crisis continues.

"We know there are many more people who are struggling alone – and no one should have to do that," Mr Cheadle added.

"I would urge anyone in and around Westmorland and Furness who is worried about their finances to contact our advisers at National Debtline, who can give you the advice and support you need."

The Breathing Space scheme works by providing up to 60 days protection, and pausing any additional charges or interest for that period. 

Mr Cheadle explained: "Our advisers are here to help – and can see if you are eligible for the Breathing Space scheme to give you the time and headspace you need to make a plan. 

"Everyone’s situation is different, and even if you aren’t eligible for this particular scheme, our expert advisers can help find the best option for you.” 

Westmorland and Furness residents can speak to a National Debtline adviser for free, independent advice – including on the Breathing Space scheme – over the phone on 0808 808 4000, or get advice online at