New measures to help vulnerable people in problem debt

The government legislate increases to the number of people eligible for Debt Relief orders (DROs).

DROs apply to England and Wales only (personal insolvency is devolved to Scotland and Northern Ireland.)

New monetary eligibility limits for those eligible for Debt Relief Orders came into effect Tuesday 29th June 2021.

More people will be able to access the debt solution, giving them a fresh start, as a result of the changes announced coming into force.

The changes to DRO eligibility criteria sets the level of debt at which people can apply for a DRO increase from £20,000 to £30,000. It is expected that over 13,000 more people may use DROs in the next 12 months compared to 2019, an increase of nearly 50 per cent.

Minister for Corporate Responsibility Lord Callanan said:

Debt Relief Orders help those with problem debt get to grips with their finances, these changes will enable more people experiencing problem debt to get a fresh start.

The changes to the criteria:

  • Increase the threshold on the value of assets that a debtor can hold and be eligible to enter into a DRO from £1,000 to £2,000.
  • Increase the value of a single motor vehicle that can be disregarded from the total value of assets from £1,000 to £2,000.
  • Increase the level of surplus income received by the debtor before payments should be made to creditors from £50 to £75 per month.
  • Increase the total debt allowable for a DRO from £20,000 to £30,000.

Debt Relief Orders were introduced in 2009 and are aimed at individuals with relatively low levels of unmanageable debt who have nothing to offer their creditors, such as assets or disposable income, and for whom bankruptcy would be a disproportionate response. A DRO sees debt repayments and interest frozen, while creditors are unable to pursue debtors for a 12-month period, after which the debts are written off.

Legislation:

PAYadvice.UK 29/6/2021

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