Coronavirus – desperate times, pragmatic measures

Coronavirus – desperate times, pragmatic measures

The UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer announced ‘unprecedented’ financial support packages during the last week. Some of the measures may have helped, but for some they might not apply. Here are some practical points that might help you, financially, during the course of the next few months.

  1. Banking – Navigate to your bank’s website for a dedicated Corona Virus support page. They offer information about overdrafts (see point 2), mortgages (see point 3 below), credit cards, and usually have a dedicated phone number to call.
  2. Overdrafts – some banks have announced customers may be able to go into overdraft without paying penalties. The overdrafts aren’t large, some are £300 and some are £600, but they could help. Call your bank if you think you need a larger one, they may ask you for a forecast for the remainder of the year, so be ready for that.
  3. Mortgage holiday – if you own your own home, you will be able to access a mortgage holiday. It’s not an exemption to pay, you’ll always need to make up the amount at a later date. Be clear with your bank about the terms.
  4. Renting – understanding point 4 can give you some negotiating power. Speak with your landlord about a plan for the next 3 months. If they say no, explain to them the mortgage holiday they’re entitled to, help educate them. Remember you are in a good negotiating position because even if the landlord wanted to evict you, they won’t find anyone to replace you in this economic climate. You should aim for FREE rent for the next 3 months, but contractually you may need to pay it at a later date. Whatever you do, don’t miss the rental payment without communicating, that’s a breach of contract.
  5. Contact customers who owe you money – help them out here, they know they owe you money, the elephant in the room is the GLOBAL PANDEMIC and cash flow is tough. Be gentle, recognise that times are tough, and also enquire about how they will pay what they owe to you. It is fair that you ask. Start the communication.
  6. Contact your suppliers – it will not be a surprise them when you contact them, everyone is in this together. If there are supplies or services you are not receiving, then you could receive refunds or stop payments. They might allow you longer to pay for good/services you receive in the coming months, and that’s also a great result. Treat them like one of your clients would to you. Start the conversation.
  7. Direct Debits – deep dive into your bank statements and understand what cash is going out. Amazing how many direct debits you’ve set up over the last 18 months isn’t it? £8.99 here, £12,99 there. Cancel anything not critical. Communicate with the supplier if you need to. Cancel Netflix? You might have to.
  8. Call HMRC – the chances of obtaining and extension to amounts you owe are very high at the moment, so give them a call.
  9. Register for Universal Credit – you’re not alone, over 500,000 people have in the last ten days. You can request for ‘advanced payment’ and potentially receive your first payment within ten days, otherwise you wait five weeks.
  10. Council Tax – you may have seen from your local council they are suspending debt collection services. By default of that, it means you could get away with not paying. But don’t do that, contact them instead, see if you can flatten out your payments over a longer period, or perhaps you just need that one month break in May before Government support comes – make sure they make a note of it on file.
  11. Support local businesses – if there’s a local fruit shop you frequented but can’t now, will they deliver? Support your locals, in the same way you’d like them to support you.
  12. New opportunities – COVID 19 undoubtedly has turned our world upside. But some new opportunities do still exist. NHS is recruiting, the farmers of this country are desperate for fruit pickers, supermarkets are looking for new staff and probably will see some turnover as existing employees go off on sick leave (sadly) – if you’re waiting for Government support is there a job you could do instead and get paid?
  13. Register to volunteer for the NHS – the Government wanted 250,000 volunteers, already they have 750,000. Not only will this keep you busy and in a positive frame of mind, but you may meet new friends and contacts. Go for it!

Helpful Resources

HMRC Guidance to Business and Employers:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses

HMRC Guidance to Self Employed:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme

Turn2Us – Fighting Poverty in the UK:

https://www.turn2us.org.uk/

If you would like to understand more please don’t hesitate to contact info@sadleradvisory, or call 020 3746 1594.