Covid-19 Debt Advice
Debt & Money Advice

COVID-19 Debt Update
(all information is correct as of 1:00pm on 31st March 2020)

Here at The Project, we understand that all the recent changes can get a little bit confusing, so we have collated information from different sources to try and help you make sense of the recent changes (the links to the resources are at the bottom of the update). We hope this information is useful for you, but please call The Project on 0121 453 0606 for any further information or clarification.

In brief

The Government and banks have said they will offer help to people if they are diagnosed with coronavirus and need to self-isolate. You may also get other kinds of help if you are self-employed and Business Debtline can give you more information (www.businessdebtline.org).

There are things you can do if you are struggling to pay things like your rent, mortgage or energy bills because of coronavirus. It is important that you do not just ignore your bills. The first step is to speak to the organisation you owe the money too as they might be able to help by letting you pay smaller amounts or take a break. It’s also worth checking with your bank or building society as they might be able to help you with your debts or let you delay loan or credit card repayments.

In detail

Rent

The government has made a temporary change to the law around eviction because of coronavirus. Your landlord might have to give you extra notice before they can evict you - it depends on your tenancy type. Please see https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/debt-and-money/if-you-cant-pay-your-bills-because-of-coronavirus/ for detailed advice on this.

Mortgage

The government has announced that if you cannot pay your mortgage because of coronavirus you might be able to have a 3-month payment holiday. You won’t be able to do this if you’re behind with your payments. Get in touch with your mortgage provider to find out more.

Council Tax

If your normal income has decreased, you may be entitled to Council Tax Support (CTS). You can apply for CTS on Birmingham City Council’s website via the following link (https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/info/20017/benefits_and_support/305/council_tax_support_scheme). An application for CTS is not automatically done if you apply for Universal Credit. You need to make both applications.

The government has provided extra help to local Councils and has said that people getting CTS should get an extra £150.00 reduction in addition to the normal reduction Council’s give someone on a low income or benefits.

Gas and Electricity

Fuel on prepayment meter - The Government issued this press release on 18th March 2020 setting out emergency measures agreed with the energy industry. Disconnections - Ofgem has announced a moratorium on all disconnections during the outbreak, with no end date given as yet.

Water

Speak to Severn Trent, or your water company if you are not a Severn Trent customer, as soon as you can if you are having problems paying your bill. If you are a Severn Trent Customer, ask Severn Trent to send you an application form so you can apply to the Big Difference Scheme (BDS) and the Severn Trent Trust Fund.

Non-priority Debts

(For example Credit Cards, Catalogues, Personal loans, PayDay loans etc)

Ask for a payment break - lenders are starting to get their help properly described on their website. Therefore, look at your lender’s website first and see what that says.

All of the above information has been taken from the below websites;

https://www.nationaldebtline.org/EW/factsheets/Pages/coronavirus-advice-and-support/help-and-advice.aspx

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/debt-and-money/if-you-cant-pay-your-bills-because-of-coronavirus/

https://debtcamel.co.uk/coronavirus-can-you-pay-debts/

https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/welfare-rights/news/item/government-issues-guidance-to-local-authorities-on-500-million-council-tax-hardship-fund

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-agrees-measures-with-energy-industry-to-support-vulnerable-people-through-covid-19?utm_source=42a6f8ed-fe40-4953-8338-7172308f7bd4&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate&utm_source=Expert+advice&utm_campaign=b2f93a6b81-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_03_25_09_21&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_19bd99be06-b2f93a6b81-284245577&mc_cid=b2f93a6b81&mc_eid=1c57b903d5 https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-covid-19-and-your-energy-supply?utm_source=Expert+advice&utm_campaign=b2f93a6b81-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_03_25_09_21&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_19bd99be06-b2f93a6b81-284245577&mc_cid=b2f93a6b81&mc_eid=1c57b903d5

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19

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