All coronavirus-related this week.
Tweet of the week
It’s official. This is far and away the biggest increase in claims to benefit in at least forty years, and likely a lifetime. See below. This is a 412% increase month on month, >5 times higher than previous record (June 1994). First time we’ve had official data to chart this. 1/ pic.twitter.com/qS9fTY2Y9i
— Tony Wilson (@tonywilsonIES) April 21, 2020
Government must act to ‘close the gaps’ in Covid-19 financial support Money Advice Trust: Take bolder action to help private tenants to meet their rent payments by increasing the Local Housing Allowance rate to cover 50% of average rents in each local area.
Parking fines and council tax arrears causing problem debts Times (paywall) Councils and government departments are sitting on a £13.5bn mountain of personal debt which includes parking fines, tax credit and universal credit overpayment debt and council tax arrears.
The Taking Control of Goods and Certification of Enforcement Agents (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 Restricts ability to take control of goods during lockdown but extends the period allowed.
High-cost short-term credit and coronavirus: temporary guidance for firms FCA: the guidance now in force. “We expect firms to use the deferral period to engage with their customers to understand the likelihood of their being able to resume payments at the end of the deferral period. Where a customer continues, or reasonably expects to continue, to face payment difficulties, as a result of circumstances relating to coronavirus, the firm should apply CONC 7.3 regardless of whether or not a customer is in default or arrears.”
Shops get rent break as told to pay what they can BBC: The laws ban landlords from using statutory demands and winding up orders to claim rent unpaid due to the crisis. Commercial tenants may also delay full payments, unless they owe more than three months of rent.
Coronavirus – new rules to help people in IVAs my article on last week’s announcement from the Insolvency Service.
American Credit Cards Start Offering Lower Limits Amid U.S. Outbreak Blomberg Major U.S. credit-card issuers are starting to lower customer spending limits as the coronavirus pandemic leaves millions of Americans jobless and struggling to keep up on loans.
Benefits & other news
The impossibility of measuring inflation in a pandemic Economist (paywall) Poor households may thus end up facing a double whammy: a more expensive weekly shop, followed by less government support to pay for it.
British households face disposable income fall of £515 per month Guardian Disposable income earned by UK households, once it has been adjusted for tax and benefits, will be 17% lower in the second quarter of this year.
Poorer expectant mums lose over £4,000 through ‘unfair’ anomaly in benefits Guardian: Universal credit treats maternity allowance, which is paid to the lowest-earning women and those who are self-employed, as “unearned income”, which means it is deducted from their benefit payments.
DWP chiefs say they ‘didn’t really consider’ axing 5-week wait for Universal Credit Mirror: “Even if we were able to secure the £2.2bn a year that would be required to do that, it is not operationally deliverable.”
Food bank demand soars as newly unemployed wait weeks for benefits Independent: Charities say they are being ‘abandoned’ by central government as food poverty ‘spirals out of control’