For updated information surrounding the Coronavirus please check the government website: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
Coronavirus: FCA announces payment freezes on motor finance, buy-now pay-later, rent-to-own and pawnbroking
New measures announced by the Financial Conduct Authority came into force on 27 April to help those struggling to meet payments for motor finance, buy-now pay-later payments, rent-to own and pawnbroking. Customers can request a payment deferral at any point after this date for a period of 3 months.
Coronavirus: Bailiffs banned from visiting homes
The Ministry of Justice has amended legislation to stop bailiffs visiting debtors’ homes during the Covid-19 pandemic. Bailiffs are prevented from taking goods from inside people’s homes, as well as banned from taking cars, vans, bikes and any other vehicles debtors have parked just outside their home. Also where an enforcement notice has been served, and there’s less than one month before a time limit expires and debtors’ goods can be taken, the time limit will be extended by 12 months.
Coronavirus: Government to pay families of NHS staff who die in service treating Covid-19 patients £60,000
The government has agreed to extend death in service benefits to all NHS staff who die whilst treating Covid-19 patients. Many workers had been ineligible for the payments because of not completing enough service or not having enrolled in the NHS pension scheme. Families of staff who die from working on the coronavirus frontline will receive a £60,000 payment.
Coronavirus: Government pledges £3.1m for children abused in lockdown
The government is to spend £3.1 million on services supporting children who witness abuse at home during the coronavirus lockdown. The funding will be given to councils, charities, and police and crime commissioners in England and Wales.
Coronavirus: Gambling firms to stop advertising during lockdown
Gambling firms have voluntarily agreed to stop all TV and radio advertising for games and products during the virus lockdown.
Coronavirus: Be aware of scam emails
Be aware of a scam email about entitlement to free school meals during the current school closures and asking for your bank account details.
Coronavirus: Arranging mortgages
At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, many banks stopped offering mortgage deals or only offered loans to those with large deposits. This week some banks have begun to make it easier to qualify for a mortgage.
Coronavirus: Post Office to deliver cash to the vulnerable
People with Post Office Card Accounts can have cash delivered to their door if they are shielding due to the current pandemic. Those with Post Office Card Accounts can have cash delivered to their door by the following day. They can be sent up to £2,500 using Royal Mail Special Delivery which will arrive by 9pm the following day. Customers will only be offered cash deliveries if they do not have any other options to access their money. The DWP is contacting the 27,000 most vulnerable post office card account customers identified using its own data and the NHS list of individuals advised to shield.
National Savings & Investments cancels the majority of its announced interest rate reductions
National Savings & Investments (NS&I) has announced that most of its rate reductions due next month would be cancelled and customers should ignore letters they had received about them. However, interest rate cuts to fixed term accounts will still go ahead.
Coronavirus: The Chancellor announces 100% state-backed loans for small firms
Small firms will be able to access to 100% taxpayer-backed loans from next week, following concerns that the process to access existing coronavirus rescue schemes was slow. Firms will be offered loans up to £50,000 within days of applying and will only need to complete a two-page self-certification form online. No capital or interest repayments will be due for one year. Instead, the government will pay the interest for the first 12 months. Also, firms applying for the new loans will now only have to prove that they were viable in the past before the crisis, not about potential after the crisis which companies are struggling to prove.
Coronavirus: Furloughed workers offered online skills training
People at home during the coronavirus lockdown, including those on furlough, are being offered free online courses in digital skills. The Open University and Google are among the providers. It is to help provide training focused on improving skills for online jobs, as it is likely that more people will be working remotely in the foreseeable future.
Metro Bank to refund customers for failing to warn them properly about unarranged overdraft charges
Metro Bank is to pay 130,000 customers an average amount of £86, after the bank sent customer text alerts between February 2018 and December 2019 which didn’t warn them properly that they would be charged for unarranged overdraft. Some texts were also sent later than they should have been. As a result, customers who went into their unarranged overdrafts were charged for each payment which took them into their overdraft or payments were refused due to lack of funds. Affected customers will be sent an e-mail or letter about the refund and will receive payment by summer 2020.