My pick of last week’s news is BrightHouse going under.
If you haven’t read them, And so the appalling human consequences of the austerity experiment become clear and What debt advice tells us about supporting people affected by coronavirus are both very good.
Hopefully, some actions from the FCA summons council of war (behind paywall, sorry) will turn out to be the pick of next week’s news.
High cost lenders going under:
- Coronavirus: Collapse of rent-to-own giant BrightHouse puts 2,400 jobs at risk Sky broke the story.
- Rent-to-own firm Brighthouse calls administrators BBC
- BrightHouse entering administration – how does this affect customers? my article.
- Uncle Buck LLP enters administration following FCA action FCA: Uncle Buck was a mid-size payday lender that started in 2004.
Coronavirus: FCA summons council of war Times (paywall): The banks have already pledged to offer mortgage holidays to those suffering income loss as result of the coronavirus. Some have offered relief on overdrafts, but a payment holiday on credit cards may not be the answer because of already high rates of interest. “Rolling up and compounding quite a high rate of interest on that debt isn’t necessarily going to help,” said Woolard. Other solutions may be needed.
Lenders & utilities:
- Nationwide announces financial support package for those impacted by coronavirus Nationwide: lots of lenders are putting in place policies, I have selected Nationwide’s as they are simple, clear and comprehensive, including not harming people’s credit records.
- Will your bank freeze overdraft fees until summer? What the big six are doing for customers and why they’ve NOT axed planned 40% rates Mail: A round-up of what all the banks are doing.
- Water firms to give struggling customers payment holidays if their finances are hit by coronavirus Sun
- Coronavirus: Families on lockdown to spend an extra £52million on energy bills a week Mirror
Bailiff action ‘must be suspended’ during Covid-19 outbreak Money Advice Trust: The move comes as Citizens Advice, Money Advice Trust and StepChange Debt Charity report that debt advisers have already begun to receive calls about bailiffs visiting their homes from people who are self-isolating.
- one bailiff doing the right thing: Marston has ceased enforcement activity until further notice.
Problems with the government help that has been announced:
- Banks under fire for coronavirus loan tactics BBC: Banks have been criticised by firms and MPs for insisting on personal guarantees to issue government-backed emergency loans to business owners.
- Government accused of backtracking on its promise to protect renters from eviction as coronavirus crisis deepens Mail: Shadow housing secretary John Healey said the Bill ‘just gives [renters] some extra time to pack their bags’.
- Relief for the self-employed, but dedicated hardship fund ‘needed now’ Money Advice Trust: ” having to wait until June for payments to come through will cause real hardship for many. The Government should introduce a dedicated hardship fund for self-employed people who are struggling in the meantime.”
- Coronavirus: The newly jobless struggle to claim benefits BBC: One user posted a screenshot on Twitter of their application which said that “due to an incredible volume of new users,” there were 105,563 people ahead of them in an online queue to verify their identity, a basic requirement of applying for any benefit.
What debt advice tells us about supporting people affected by coronavirus Stepchange blog: a summary of many different aspects, from lending to benefits, short-term and long term.
Regulations temporarily suspended to fast-track supplies of PPE to NHS staff and protect companies hit by COVID-19 Insolvency Service “government also announces it will amend insolvency law to give companies breathing space and keep trading while they explore options for rescue”.
- And so the appalling human consequences of the austerity experiment become clear Prospect: “Many are now saying, rightly, that it’s unreasonable and unacceptable to expect people who lose their jobs to live on £73.10 a week (the current jobseekers’ allowance rate for single people over 25). True enough—but it was no less true last month, before Covid-19.”
- The middle class are about to discover the cruelty of Britain’s benefits system Guardian: Millions of people are about to discover something they didn’t know about British life. There is no longer a safety net.
- Coronavirus: Landlord offers tenant rent break BBC: A landlord has given his self-employed tenant, a father-of-four who was already in rent arrears, a five-month rent break during the coronavirus outbreak.
- VEGGIE KIND Lidl donates thousands of fresh fruit and veg bags to NHS staff while at work Sun.
- Leeds United empty Elland Road food stocks to make Holbeck Together donation amid coronavirus outbreak Yorkshire Post: “Leeds United has literally emptied their food stocks to enable us to continue to deliver hot, nutritious meals, shopping and other vital supplies to those who can’t make it out themselves.”