Getting help with debt

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  • One lower affordable monthly payment
  • Freeze interest and charges
  • Stop lender calls and harassment
  • Advisor waiting to help today
  • Non-judgmental and no-obligation

If you do not maintain the total contractual repayments to your creditors, this may negatively impact your credit rating. 

If you qualify for a debt solution, you must read the small print to understand the Pros and Cons of each option. An advisor will outline if fees are applicable depending on your qualifying debt solution. A debt solution may not be suitable in all circumstances.

Free and impartial money advice is also available from the Money Helper, an organisation set up by the Government for people in debt.

Eligibility Check

Compare Different Solutions

Various debt solutions may be available to provide relief in situations where it is challenging to meet your repayment obligations. These solutions can offer a range of benefits, such as preventing creditor contact such as phone calls, emails, enforcement agents, and freezing interest. If you qualify for a debt solution, you must read the small print to understand the Pros and Cons of each available option.

Debt Management Plan

A Debt Management Plan is an informal repayment agreement between you and your creditors to pay your debts.

Debt management plans are an alternative debt solution to formal arrangements, such as an Individual Voluntary Arrangement or Bankruptcy and are available to residents in the United Kingdom.

Debt management plans are normally used under these circumstances:

  • You cannot maintain the minimum contractual repayments required by your creditors.
  • You struggle to repay the debt but can make repayments to clear the debts within a reasonable timescale.
  • You can organise a payment plan with your creditors, use a licensed Debt Management Company (fees are charged) or via the free sector.
  • Payments are made regularly to the company.
  • The company divides the money between all your creditors.


An Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) allows you to combine all your repayments into one affordable payment. You make this payment over an agreed period, after which any remaining debt can be written off. The term is usually 60 months (Five years) for tenants and 72 months (Six years) for homeowners. An IVA is typically set up and administered by a qualified Insolvency Practitioner, known as an IP.

  • An IVA (Individual Voluntary Arrangement) is a legally binding agreement between you and your creditors to pay back your debts over a period of time.
  • You agree to make regular payments to an insolvency practitioner, who will divide this money between your creditors.
  • The fees charged are taken from the affordable monthly payment you make over the agreed term of the IVA.
  • An IVA can give you more control of your assets than bankruptcy.

Administration Order

An administration order is a repayment plan arranged by the County Court and are are only available in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. If you live in Scotland there are other options available to help you deal with your debts.

  • An administration order is legally binding on your creditors and gives you protection from them.
  • The creditors included in the order can’t contact you for payment or add any more interest or charges to your debts once the administration order has been approved.

To apply for an administration order you must have:

  • Less than £5,000 debt in total.
  • Received at least one court judgment.

Debt Relief Order

A Debt Relief Order (DRO) is a way of dealing with your debts if you can’t afford to pay them. It means you don’t have to pay certain debts for a specified period (usually 12 months). At the end of the DRO period, the debts included in it will be written off (‘discharged’), and you won’t have to pay them. A DRO is a formal debt solution designed for people with little or no assets and low income. If you don’t own your own home & have little spare income and debts that are less than £30,000 a Debt Relief Order (DRO) could be a way to deal with your debts.

To be eligible for a DRO, you must meet these criteria:

  • you owe £30,000 or less, £20,000 or less in Northern Ireland.
  • you have less than £75 to spend each month, after paying tax, national insurance and normal household expenses.
  • you’ve lived or worked in England or Wales in the last 3 years.
  • your assets aren’t worth more than £2,000 in total, including vehicles.
  • you’ve not had a DRO in the last 6 years.

You won’t be eligible if you are involved in bankruptcy proceedings or any other formal insolvency procedure. However, if one of your creditors has asked a court to make you bankrupt, you may ask the creditor for permission to apply for a DRO instead.



There are various options available for people looking to break free of debt; one is bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is a form of insolvency that writes off debts if you struggle to repay them. It’s typically considered a last resort as a suitable legal process if you have little hope of repaying your debts within a reasonable timescale. Nearly all your unsecured debts are written off when you go bankrupt. In some cases, your creditors can choose to make you bankrupt. However, bankruptcy has severe implications and shouldn’t be considered lightly.

To declare bankruptcy in the England and Wales, an individual must make an application to the court and pay a fee. The court will then appoint an official receiver, who will take control of the individual’s assets, sell them to repay creditors, and distribute any remaining funds to the creditors.

Being declared bankrupt can have serious consequences, including the loss of assets, a damaged credit rating, and restrictions on obtaining credit or certain types of employment. However, it may also provide a fresh start for individuals struggling with debt and allow them to move forward with their financial life.

If you declare bankruptcy in the UK, personal assets such as your car and any properties you own will usually be sold to repay your outstanding debts.

Breathing Space

Breathing Space is a new debt option that gives you temporary protection from the creditors you owe money to if you’re struggling with debts.

This includes:

  • Freezing most interest, fees and charges on debts.
  • Pausing most enforcement action and contact from creditors.

There are two types of Breathing Space:

  • Standard Breathing Space – which you apply for through debt advice, and which lasts for up to 60 days, with a review between days 25 and 35.
  • Mental Health Crisis Breathing Space – which is specifically for people in mental health crisis treatment and can only be applied for with an Approved Mental Health Professional (AMPH). It lasts for the duration of your treatment, plus 30 days.


Consolidation Loans

Debt consolidation combines debts, including loans, credit cards, store cards, catalogues, overdrafts, or any other outstanding bills, into one single loan. The aim is to simplify your repayments and reduce the anxiety of managing debt. Banks, credit unions, and instalment loan lenders may offer debt consolidation loans. These loans convert many of your debts into one loan payment, simplifying how many payments you have to make. These offers also might be for lower interest rates than what you’re currently paying.

However, consolidating existing credit commitments should not be considered a cure-all. If appropriately used, restructuring debts through consolidation can help you get debt free faster by reducing the interest burden of existing borrowings and bringing repayments within budget. On the other hand, if there are more serious underlying problems, it may only grant temporary relief before the creditors become unmanageable again.



Debt Management Plan (DMP) Advantages:

  • Debt management is an informal arrangement that avoids the need for formal insolvency procedures such as an IVA or bankruptcy.
  • By agreeing with your creditors, a DMP may suspend actions against you, such as CCJs (County Court Judgments).
  • Creditors will, in many cases, freeze interest payments.
  • Your monthly debt repayments may be reduced.

Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) Advantages:

  • One monthly payment over an agreed period, so you know when you will be debt-free, is typically 60 months (5 years) for tenants and 72 months (6 years) for homeowners.
  • Any remaining debt at the end of the agreed IVA period is written off.
  • It is affordable. Your monthly IVA payment will depend on your specific income & expenditure.
  • Your creditors are no longer allowed to make any further contact with you about your debts, so an IVA stops phone calls, text messages & demand letters.
  • Legal protection – your creditors cannot pursue the debt any further, including debt collectors, bailiffs, attachment of earnings or a deduction of benefits.
  • Partners: You can set up a joint IVA if you have a partner struggling with debt repayments.
  • Essential items such as your home, vehicle, mobile phones etc., can be protected.
  • Creditors can agree to an IVA if you are a homeowner or a tenant.

Administrative Order Advantages:

  • There is no upfront cost to you.
  • You make just one monthly payment to court.
  • Your home is not at risk.

Debt Relief Order (DRO) Advantages:

  • Your debts will be written off at the end of the DRO. There are a few exceptions, as explained opposite.
  • None of the creditors listed in the DRO application can take further action against you without the court’s permission.
  • It allows you to make a fresh start after 1 year.
  • The fee (£90) is affordable and can be paid in instalments, but the fee must be paid before the application can be made.
  • You will keep your assets and a vehicle as detailed above.
  • The approved intermediary ensures that you are given appropriate advice and that you fit the criteria for a DRO.

Bankruptcy Advantages:

  • Upon the making of the Bankruptcy Order, apart from a small number of exceptions, creditors can no longer take action against you
  • You will normally be discharged from the bankruptcy order in one year. You wont be expected to make payments if your income is only made up of state benefits such as Universal Credit or Child Benefit.
  • As an Officer of the Court, the Trustee has an overriding duty to act in good faith towards all parties, including the individual who has petitioned for Bankruptcy i.e the Trustee cannot disregard the individuals legal rights, simply to improve the position of the creditors
  • It costs £680 to declare yourself bankrupt and the fee can be paid in instalments, but your application cant be processed until the fee is paid in full.
  • Application can be made online, no need to attend court, and can be a very quick.
  • Should you be expected to make payments in to the Bankruptcy, it will last for a period of 3 years.



Debt Management Plan (DMP) Considerations:

  • The arrangement is informal, so your creditors can change their mind anytime.
  • Your credit rating may be negatively impacted.
  • While such arrangements reduce your monthly repayments to make them affordable, it usually means you will pay more in total over a much longer period.
  • Interest will usually continue to be charged on your debts, particularly on your arrears, which may be charged at higher rates than your original loan rate.
  • Unless your debts can be repaid with a reasonable timescale, you could be in debt for a long time.
  • Delayed or missed payments will cause you to go further into arrears with your creditors and may lead to your debts increasing and creditors taking further action to recover the sums owed to them.

Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) Considerations:

  • You are not guaranteed approval; most of your voting creditors by debt amount must agree to your proposed IVA.
  • An IVA is a formal agreement, so you must maintain the payments whilst on an IVA; otherwise, your IVA can fail – allowances can be made for a sudden drop in income for periods of unemployment or being unwell.
  • It will affect your credit score – an IVA will remain on your credit file for six years from the date your creditors agree to the IVA. If your IVA term is for five years, it will stay on your credit file for 12 months at the end of your IVA.
  • The insolvency practitioner who administers the IVA for you and your creditors will charge fees. Your creditors agree upon these fees at the outset, which are deducted from your monthly IVA payment. There are no set-up fees, and you do not pay anything besides your monthly IVA payment contribution.
  • The IVA is held on the insolvency register.
  • If you are a homeowner, you may be asked to release equity in the home – if this is not possible due to your partner being unaware of your debt, or you do not have enough equity in your property, or you are just unable to get a remortgage, you will be asked to extend your IVA payment contributions over six years instead of 5 years. This does not apply to tenants.

Administrative Order Considerations:

  • The debt must be below £5,000.
  • You may have to sell valuable possessions.
  • Your details are recorded on a Public Register.
  • Your credit rating will be adversely affected.

Debt Relief Order (DRO) Considerations:

  • Your credit rating will be affected for six years.
  • Owning your own property or having assets over £2,000 will stop you from entering a Debt Relief Order.
  • A Debt Relief Order may be cancelled if you do not comply or if your circumstances change during the 12-month period, for example, if you can pay your debt(s).
  • Your disposable income must be less than £75 per month.
  • Entering a DRO will be recorded on a public register.

Bankruptcy Considerations:

  • Your DRO is entered on a public register.
  • You can’t have a DRO if you have an existing bankruptcy order, an IVA, are subject to bankruptcy restrictions, or you have had a DRO in the last 6 years.
  • You won’t be able to have a DRO if you own a house, even if it has no equity (value).
  • You will remain liable to pay certain debts – in particular student loans, fines and some debts arising from family proceedings.
  • Your employment may be affected.
  • Your DRO could be revoked (withdrawn) if you don’t co-operate with the official receiver during the year your DRO is in force.
  • You can’t act as a director of a company or be involved in its management unless the court agrees.
  • You will be committing an offence if you get credit of £500 or more without disclosing that you are subject to a DRO.
  • You may have a debt relief restrictions order* made against you for 2 to 15 years if you acted irresponsibly, recklessly or dishonestly.

Start planning a future free of unsecured debt


Check if you qualify

Simply complete the form to see if you qualify for any of the available debt solutions.



A friendly & experienced advisor from DSD will contact you to discuss yourc ircumstances.


You decide

They will explain all your options, so that you can decide which solution works best for you!

Types Of Debts We Help With

2023 Central Bedfordshire Council Tax Arrears


Store Cards

Bankruptcy Vs IVA

Payday Loans

How long to repay a credit card

Credit Cards



Council Tax

Central Bedfordshire Council Tax Support


Utility Bills

Here’s an example of how we can help

Debts Owed

Loan £12,356
Credit Card £9,765
Catalogue £987
Council Tax £1,256
Payday Loan £1,409

Repayments Before & After IVA

speaking to us*


debt solution*


*Subject to creditor acceptance
*Payment subject to individual circumstances
*Credit rating may be affected
*Fees apply, subject to individual’s circumstances

To learn more about managing debt and receiving free, impartial debt advice, visit Money Helper or read about options for paying off your debt