All of the UK is facing a winter of uncertainty and coronavirus is still at the front of our minds. With an ever-changing picture, how can we prepare for an unpredictable few months?
What help is available?
‘Furlough’ (the coronavirus job retention scheme) has now been extended to March 2021. This will help to protect businesses that have been forced to close or reduce their opening because of restrictions. Employees will continue to be paid up to 80% of wages (up to £2,500 per month). However, there is uncertainty about when the scheme will end and this still means that many households face a reduced income well into 2021.
Don’t ignore the problem
Ignoring a problem usually makes it worse. If you have problem debt, you’re not alone – nine million of us are struggling, with only 1.5 million seeking help. On top of this, one in nine have fallen behind with essential payments during the pandemic.
It’s much better to plan ahead and prepare for any issues you may face. If you think you may be affected by a reduction in your household income, you can take steps now to get on top of things.
Check your budget
Take a look at your bank statements to see if you could stop any payments for services or insurance that you don’t use. You could put those payments in a separate account to build up a buffer if you haven’t already seen a reduction in your income.
Make a list of your essential payments, including rent/mortgage, council tax, fuel and the TV Licence, and prioritise those bills.
Check to see if you’re entitled to any additional help. A drop in income may mean that you're entitled to some benefits. You can calculate your benefit entitlement at entitled to and see if your situation has changed. Check with your local authority to find out if you can get any help with council tax and other payments. Look into any government schemes to top up your income.
If you’re already struggling, don’t wait to ask for help. Speaking to someone now might put your mind at ease or help you work out how to deal with any problems.
Our team of qualified, experienced and dedicated money advisers can help you to sort out your finances. We can advise on a range of personal debt issues, from complex situations to budgeting. We'll be able to help you decide on the right solutions for you, whether that’s debt management, self-help or formal insolvency. In some circumstances, we may be able to give financial assistance in the form of a grant for priority or essential payments. We can also give urgent advice to help you when you need it most.
Don’t delay – apply for help now.