Last week I took a look at the support given to UK businesses during the Coronavirus crisis. Today i’m taking a closer look at what help is available to individuals.
I have included some brief details of each of the measures and some key links to make it easily accessible.
Banks are offering a 3 month mortgage holiday to those struggling due to COVID19. The interest will accumulate but essentially it is a 3 month window of savings which may be extended. So get in touch with your bank ASAP as many are reporting delays and long phone queues.
80% Wage Cover
If your employer or former employers has a PAYE scheme, you will be able to access support to continue paying part of your salary instead of being laid off during this crisis. It applies to employees who have been asked to stop working, but who are being kept on the pay roll, known as ‘furloughed workers’. HMRC will reimburse 80% of wages, up to £2,500 per month. The Scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to the 1st March and is initially open for 3 months.
The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals (including members of partnerships) who have lost income due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
This scheme will allow you to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months. This may be extended if needed.
The Government has said landlords in England and Wales will need to give three months’ notice before starting eviction proceedings.
Beyond these three- or six-month points, you’ll be expected to work with your landlord to establish an affordable repayment plan which takes your circumstances into account.
What’s more, private landlords are also now eligible for a three-month buy-to-let mortgage payment holiday if their tenants are experiencing financial difficulties. Technically they needn’t pass this on to their tenants, but morally they should and most will, so speak to your landlord if you need help.
Lenders have agreed to help homemovers who have exchanged contracts and agreed completion dates by offering mortgage extensions of up to three months where the move’s been impacted by coronavirus.
You’ll need to speak to your mortgage lender though to establish exactly that would work in practice, as this could mean either:
- keeping the terms of the existing mortgage offer and simply extending the offer expiry date
- pushing the back the start date of a mortgage deal, or
- extending the mortgage deal to expire three months later.
Credit Cards, Loans and Other Bills
Many banks will help those struggling to repay personal loans and credit cards.
Car finance provider are also offering support such as payment deferrals, reduced payments, payment extensions and payment holidays, but the main message is for you to get in touch with them and they will help you on a case-by-case basis.
Interest Free Overdraft
All banks have been asked to offer a £500 free overdraft ie. to remove charges from the first £500 to everyone with an overdraft. Check with your bank to make sure you are getting this.
- Sky will let you ‘pause’ your subscription – which means you can stop paying for the time being. While your account’s paused, you won’t be charged but you will still have access to all 11 Sky Sports channels.
- Virgin Media. You can now apply to pause your Sky Sports subscription. You can still watch the channels, you just won’t be charged. Virgin Media will stop payments automatically, there’s no need to call them.
- TalkTalk emailed customers to say they could pause their Sky Sports boost. Customers who opt-in to pause their boost will not be charged during this time and the subscription will show as a credit on their bill. All Sky Sport channels, plus recordings, can still be watched.
- BT customers who pay for Sky Sports through BT can get a bill credit while sport is paused. However, you will need to call BT’s customer service line to get this.
Accessing Fixed Rate Savings
Banks will allow you to access your fixed-rate savings
The majority of big banks have said they’ll waive penalties for existing customers affected by the pandemic who now need their savings to cover living costs.
However, your money could well be locked away at a rate that’s now impossible to get, so take this into account.
Statutory Sick Pay
You can get £94.25 per week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you’re too ill to work. It’s paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks.
If you are staying at home because of COVID-19 you can now claim SSP. This includes individuals who are caring for people in the same household and therefore have been advised to do a household quarantine.
To check your sick pay entitlement, you should talk to your employer, and visit the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) page for more information.
If you are not eligible for SSP – for example if you are self-employed or earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week – and you have COVID-19 or are advised to self-isolate, you can now more easily make a claim for Universal Credit (UC) or new style Employment and Support Allowance. For more information on how to claim, please visit https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit and https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-style-employment-and-support-allowance.
Deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
If you’re a UK VAT registered business and have a VAT payment due between 20th of March 2020 and 30th of June 2020, you have the option to: defer the payment until a later date or pay the VAT due as normal
For Income Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on the 31st of July 2020 may be deferred until 31st of January 2021. You are eligible if you are due to pay your second self-assessment payment on account on 31st of July. You do not need to be self-employed to be eligible for the deferment.
As always, any questions just get in touch, or comment on social media.