Antoinette Sandbach - Eddisbury Liberal Democrats

COVID-19: Update - Support available for individuals affected by coronavirus

Further to my article on 18 March 2020, this posting provides an update on the roll-out of the schemes for individuals affected by COVID-19 previously announced by the Chancellor and the further support measures which have since been announced.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

  • If your employer has been forced to close or are experiencing difficulties paying wages as a result of COVID-19, they may be able to continue paying part of your wages under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
  • Under the scheme, your employer will ask you to become a furloughed worker, which means that although you will not be doing work for your employer you will remain on the payroll, rather than being laid off.  
  • HMRC will pay your employer up to 80% of your wage, to a maximum of £2,500 per month.
  • If your salary is reduced as a result of the scheme, you may be entitled to claim benefits, including Universal Credit. You can find further details here.

Self-Employed

  • The Government has confirmed that there will be a support package for those who are self-employed. It is expected that this will be announced within the next few days. 
  • Income Tax Self-Assessment payments due on 31 July 2020 will be deferred until 31 January 2021. This will apply automatically and there will be no penalties or interest for late payment charged during the deferral period. 

Mortgage Payment Holidays

  • The Financial Conduct Authority has issued guidance to mortgage lenders and advisors confirming:
    • where customers indicate that they are experiencing financial difficulties and request a payment holiday, lenders should grant a three-month payment holiday unless there is a more appropriate option, which is in the best interests of the customer;
    • there is no expectation that lenders will investigate the circumstances surrounding the request for a payment holiday;
    • customers should not pay any charge or fee to be granted a payment holiday;
    • customers accounts should not be recorded as having any form of detrimental arrears and there should be no negative impact on customer’s credit score.
  • The support measures announced for private mortgage holders will be extended to those with buy-to-let mortgages, including the option of a payment holiday of up to three months to residential buy-to-let landlords who have tenants who are experiencing issues with their finances, as either a direct or indirect result of COVID-19. For further information and detail, please see UK Finance’s website.
  • Those who took out government-backed Help to Buy equity loans before 31 March 2015 will also be offered interest payment holidays if they are struggling to pay due to COVID-19. Anyone affected should contact their main mortgage provider in the first instance and thereafter the equity loan administrator.

Protection for Renters

  • With effect from 19/03/20, landlords will not be able to start proceedings to evict tenants from either social or private accommodation for at least three months.
  • The Pre-Action Protocol for possession hearings will be amended to ensure the necessary engagement between landlords and tenants to resolve disputes and come to an affordable repayment plan.

You can keep up to date with the Government’s latest COVID-19 guidance here.

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