lifestyle

What to do when the Covid cash from furlough runs out on September 30


The end of furlough could hit many people hard (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Finance columnist Andy Webb breaks down how people struggling without furlough pay can cope financially.

If you take a date as a sign everything is OK, then September 30, 2021 suggests everything is back to normal pre-pandemic levels.

This is the date that the Coronavirus Job Support Scheme, AKA furlough, ends.

The Government-subsidised wages initiative has been a lifeline for so many people. Yet, for some, there will be no back to normal.

When the final trickle of Treasury cash stops there will still be some who don’t go back to work. Some whose livelihood isn’t back to the levels of March 2020.

Finding a replacement job won’t always be easy (it’d be great if becoming an HGV driver was suitable for all). So what do you do if even the furlough cash dries up?

Well, don’t ignore benefits which could help in the short or long term. For vital resources on support you might be able to claim, go to entitledto.co.uk or turn2us.org.uk.

A week later, there’s another big change. Research shows that the expected £20 a week cut to Universal Credit (UC) on October 6 is going to push a huge number of people into poverty. One study by Citizens Advice says 2.3million people will go into the red as a result.

The temporary uplift of £86.87 a month was just one of the raft of measures introduced along with the furlough scheme. The money provided by UC is far lower than furlough cash, and for workers who missed out on that (including the self-employed and freelancers), it’s been barely enough to get by.

When this extra cash is gone, it’s likely food budgets will be one of the hardest hit. I’m sure you’ll agree that no one should be going hungry in 21st century Britain. But they will.

The Trussell Trust estimates 900,000 people will need to visit a food bank after this drop in benefits.

Head to trusselltrust.org to find a food bank local to you — either to collect or donate essential groceries and toiletries.

Moving your money

Credit cards aren’t all bad. There are positives for sensible spenders — more on these in future columns — but they can also help those who
are struggling.

A zero per cent balance transfer credit card will drop the interest charge to zero for a designated period of time.

This allows you to pay back just your debt without interest getting added each month. This could save you thousands of pounds in interest charges.

You need to ensure you’re making at least the minimum payment each month but I’d recommend paying as much as you can. Ideally you want to clear what you owe before the zero per cent deal ends.

I’ve shared the longest and cheapest options below, but it’s best to try eligibility checks via a comparison site to find the card best suited for you.

Who to follow

Debt Camel blogger Sara Williams is a great person to follow for financial advice (Picture: Andrew Mason)

The queen of debt campaigners is undoubtedly Sara Williams , who runs the Debt Camel blog. Her site offers a wealth (ironic pun intended) of resources for anyone who is struggling to keep their head above water.

I’d certainly follow her on Twitter and Instagram (@debtcamel) to keep up-to-date on all available support.



Sara’s top debt tip

‘When you are behind with essential bills, you can pay just a token £1 a month to ‘non-priority’ debts — get help from Citizens Advice.’

Deal of the week

Sign up to LNER Perks via the LNER app to get £5 credit to use on any London North Eastern Railway train ticket that includes at least part of your journey on their trains. You’ll also earn two per cent back to use on future travel.

Follow Andy on Twitter and Instagram via @andyclevercash

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Get in touch by emailing MetroLifestyleTeam@Metro.co.uk.



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