All articles are Coronavirus-related this week. My pick of them is The UK’s self-employed are falling through the Covid-19 policy net.
Tweet of the week
“[Universal Credit] advances should be grants, not loans”
People eligible for Universal Credit benefits can be given a cash advance, as a loan, within a day of applying.
— Victoria Derbyshire (@VictoriaLIVE) March 18, 2020
Debt & benefit news
FCA information for firms on Coronavirus (Covid-19) response “Given the challenges facing many customers at present we think they should be given more time, until 1 October 2020, to respond to firms’ communications. This means that firms would not be obliged by our rules to suspend the cards of non-responders before then.”
An unprecedented but essential pledge to underwrite wages and strengthen the safety net Resolution Foundation: a summary of the new measures announced on Thursday.
- Coronavirus: Tenants ‘should get a rent break’ BBC
- Complete ban on evictions and additional protection for renters gov.uk
- NHS paramedic evicted from home for fear he would spread Covid-19 Guardian: Joseph Hoar asked leave within 24 hours because owner ‘super nervous’ about his presence.
- Coronavirus: ‘If you can’t work, what do you do?’ BBC: Not only are self-employed people facing personal ruin, but their businesses are also likely to fail and this will have knock-on effects for the rest of the economy.
- The UK’s self-employed are falling through the Covid-19 policy net MAT: In the last few days, almost every single call and webchat enquiry to Business Debtline has involved the impact of the outbreak – with the income of some callers falling like a stone, and others collapsing to zero. We are expecting what could be the biggest surge in demand in Business Debtline’s history in the near future.
- Rishi Sunak under pressure to bail out self-employed Guardian: Calls come as survey suggests half would keep working if they had coronavirus symptoms.
Coronavirus: Energy bill help for vulnerable amid outbreak BBC: Debt repayments and bill payments could be reassessed, paused or reduced where needed, if energy customers are finding it difficult.
COVID-19 and Guidance on social distancing for pregnant women Maternity Alliance calls on the Government to clarify its advice on social distancing for pregnant women, and to mitigate the potentially significant financial consequences for low-income pregnant women who self-isolate.
A few local councils have announced some help:
- Manchester “We may be able to agree to a special payment plan so that the Council Tax due for 2020/21 is split over 9 months, from July 2020 to March 2021, meaning that in some cases you will not have to pay anything until July. “
- Dudley Council drops chasing debts amid coronavirus crisis: The measures will apply to council tax, business rates, council housing rent and all other debts to the local authority.
- Sandwell Council suspends all debt-related court action in wake of coronavirus: Sandwell Council said it will not take any court action for debt against residents during the coronavirus pandemic.
Calls for debt write-offs:
- COVID-19 Response: The Need for Speed Credit Slips (an American academic blog): calls for an immediate national moratorium on foreclosures, evictions, repossessions, utility disconnects, garnishments, default judgments, and negative credit reporting for all consumers and small businesses as the fastest way to get help to people.
- The Coronavirus Debt Crisis Tribune: Johnna Montgomery calls for the Bank of England cut to interest rates to be passed on to households by offering all debtors a 0% balance transfer of up to £14,000 of outstanding debt for all borrowers.