The government has unveiled a proposal which could give people suffering from debt problems a six-week "breathing space" to allow them to get their finances in order.
On Tuesday (24 October), MPs said they would analyse evidence to decide whether to implement the policy, with a view to publishing draft legislation by 2019. Under the proposals, debtors could receive "up to six weeks free from further interest, charges and enforcement action" and the government also raised the prospect to "include legal protections that would shield individuals from further creditor action once a plan to repay their debts is in place."
The plans were part of the Conservative Party manifesto ahead of June's General Election and featured in the Queen's Speech.
"For many people in the UK problem debt seems impossible to escape," the Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Stephen Barclay, said.
"Its effects can be far-reaching, impacting all aspects of a person's life and leaving them feeling helpless.
"That is why we are working to give people who are overwhelmed by debt, more time to seek advice, find a workable solution, and help get their lives back on track."
The proposals were welcomed by debt charity StepChange, which, however, said debtors needed better protections from their creditors. According to the charity, some 8.8 million Britons face financial difficulties, which could lead to hardship.
"We know from the experiences of our clients that continuous protection between the initial breathing space period and any statutory repayment plan is vital," said Mike O'Connor, the charity's chief executive.
"Any interruption would destabilise fragile family finances and risk putting people back to square one."
Consumer debts is becoming an increasingly delicate topic in Britain, with households' budgets squeezed by rising inflation. Last week, the Office for National Statistics warned wages continued to lag behind inflation, which jumped to the highest level since April 2012 last month.
Average weekly earnings rose by 2.2% year-on-year, in line with the gain recorded in the previous month and slightly above the 2.1% figure analysts expected.
However, when the impact of inflation is factored in, real weekly wages fell by 0.3%, when including bonuses and by 0.4% when excluding bonuses, compared with a year earlier.
The Bank of England is widely expect to hike interest rates, for the first time in a decade, at its next meeting on 2 November.
However, while higher interest rates would come as a boost to the pound, they could spell troubles for borrowers at a time when consumer credit, which covers personal loans, credit cards and borrowing for cars, is rising at just under 10% a year.