After you normally have 3 weeks after being served a statutory demand to pay it. After that time the creditor can issue a bankrutcy order against you. If you dispute the debt you can apply to have the deman set aside.
Yes it can. Most creditors do not want to make you bankrupt- unless they have a personal or business reason to do so. If you are genuinely insolvent and cannot afford the debt tt will be expensive and unprofitable for them. The statutory demand is a serious matter however and you should not only offer payment, but make payment if you can. Contact the court to inform them you do not wish to be made bankrupt. If you have assets and you wish to avoid bankruptcy an IVA might be a better option if you qualify.