Everyone in Scotland has been affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

No matter what age you are or whether you’re in work or not, the Covid-19 lockdown has had an impact on every household across the country.

School closures mean parents are trying to find ways to educate and entertain their children at home, employees are learning how to keep productivity output as normal as possible while remote working and for many, furlough has become a reality.

Not everyone has been as fortunate, with redundancies being reported every day as businesses are forced to close their doors and lay off staff.

Nearly a million people have applied for Universal Credit benefits in the past fortnight as the coronavirus pandemic has worsened.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said 950,000 successful applications for the payment were made between March 16, when people were advised to work from home, and the end of the month.

The DWP would normally expect 100,000 claims in a two week period.

The UK Government’s emergency plan to save the economy has resulted in several new measures being introduced to help employers, employees and the unemployed through this challenging time, but the information can be a bit confusing.

MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis and his team have been issuing regular updates on all the changes, either on his website, social media or through his weekly newsletter.

In this week’s issue of the newsletter, he has put together a new list of 18 key "need-to-knows" to help everyone get through this pandemic .

"The extraordinary has become the ordinary," Martin wrote.

"State support mechanisms have been built in days that normally take decades. These will provide wealth support for millions - but not all. There are holes. Some won't be helped - more victims of this pandemic."

Due to the fast-moving nature of the coronavirus outbreak, Martin and his team have four guides that are regularly updated which are worth checking out for more detailed information.

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Martin Lewis' Top Money Advice

Here are 18 new "need-to-knows" from Martin Lewis

1. New Self-Employed Income Support Scheme - the Government pays 80% of profits up to £2,500 a month -  This pays a non-repayable grant to support some whose profits have been hit by coronavirus. For cash in the meantime, you can also claim  Universal Credit.

2. Employee or zero hours contract/agency worker who's not working? You're due 80% of salary up to £2,500 a month too - what counts as salary - If your income varies, you get the HIGHER of:

The amount is based on basic salary including overtime, but not including bonuses and commission.

3. Applying for Universal Credit? Be patient - it will happen -  Online applications were up 832% last week - rather than a typical 9,751 a day, it went as high as 105,678. It's swamped.

The quietest times to apply online or Universal Credit are between 3am and 5am

Try to be patient (I know it’s hard), and remember the call-handling staff are working flat out in difficult circumstances, so try not to vent at them - it's not their fault.

4. Limited company director? You can furlough your PAYE pay - No official scheme has been announced for directors of limited companies, even if they're sole traders, and I'm afraid I don't think one is coming.But limited company directors, even if they're the only employee, can furlough their PAYE income - ie, get 80% of what they pay themselves up to £2,500 a month.

But if you do this, technically you can't then work for the firm. You can continue to perform your statutory director's obligations, eg, official legal filings.

5. Old employers can rehire you to furlough you -  If you left a job after 28 February, that old employer can rehire you to furlough you. The guidance already states they can do this for those they made redundant. Yet while employers can do this, it doesn't mean they have to - and sadly many won't - But you should at least to ask.

6. If I'm furloughed, what happens to my auto-enrolled workplace pension? For furloughed workers, the Govt covers the minimum basic matching pension contributions - so it should continue.

7. Has coronavirus hit your finances in a way that's not covered?  There are sadly many holes in the support system (in which case Universal Credit is the prime option) and some financial problems exist too, including:

To help Martin Lewis' work and feed through to the Government, take the survey to tell them about coronavirus money problems.

8. MOT due? You've a 6mth extension -  If your vehicle's MOT expiry date is on or after Monday, March 30, don't worry - your vehicle is still allowed on the road and you've been given an automatic six-month extension to your current MOT.

9. Overdrawn with Halifax, HSBC, Lloyds, Nationwide, NatWest, RBS, Santander & more?New help -  Regulation changes meant that from the new tax year's start, next Monday, almost all lenders will now be charging about 40% EAR on overdrafts. Thankfully, many banks are now putting provisions in place, from £300 buffer zones (ie, 0% interest) to suspending the rises, or allowing you to apply for 0% overdrafts.

10. Mortgage lenders are offering extensions so you can delay completion -  Homebuyers and renters due to move are being urged to delay where possible. To help, mortgage lenders have agreed to offer up to 3month extensions for those who have already exchanged contracts or agreed completion dates.

11. I'm about to buy a new home - should I exchange contracts?   I'd urge caution. Moving right now is difficult, and the Government is cautioning against it. Many removal and vehicle-hire firms are shut. If you're in a chain, it's likely there'll be a break somewhere. If it's your dream home, you could discuss with the seller whether they'd agree to a delayed completion, so you can exchange now and complete in say 6months, but you'll need lawyers and mortgage firms to put everything in place, and that mightn't be easy.

12. You now can apply for a mortgage payment holiday online with ALL major lenders (don't just stop your DDs though) -  Lenders will allow those struggling to pay their mortgage a 3month break. Ten of the biggest lenders now let you apply online. Make sure you do apply though, don't just stop direct debits - that'll kill your credit file.

13. You are legally entitled to cash refunds NOT vouchers from flight cancellations - EasyJet grounded all flights this week, and like with other airlines including BA, many people are telling us when they apply for a refund online, they can only see an offer of vouchers.

Yet under EU reg 261/2004 (still in force until December), if your flight is cancelled you legally must get a choice between a full refund or an alternative flight. So of course right now that means refunds.

If you want to get cash and aren't being offered it, the easy route is to call - though expect a long wait. An alternative would be to try using chargeback on your credit or debit card to get your money back.

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DWP And Benefits News

14. Student maintenance will come as normal -  The Student Loans Company has confirmed students will be paid their loans/grants next term as normal.

As for rent... if you live in uni accommodation, some unis are saying they will refund/not charge for next term. If you're renting in private accommodation, you've the same renters' rights as everyone else at this time. If you're in hardship, speak to the uni - it may have a fund.

15. Home insurance should cover working from home - but not any stock/kit - If you're working from home when you don't normally, provided it's office/clerical work, most insurers are taking a relaxed approach (one key is that no biz visitors come to your home, but that's not likely right now). But if you've brought expensive kit or stock home, it's worth informing it.

16. NHS staff/key workers free parking - NHS workers will be able to park for free at hospitals, while 'key workers' - which includes NHS staff teachers, supermarket workers etc - can park for free in council spaces and NCP car parks. And thanks to all key workers, you deserve far more than free parking.

The Daily Record has launched our NHS Heroes campaign to thank the remarkable NHS staff who are on the front lines of this coronavirus emergency.

These amazing people place our health above their own and we are inviting the public to pledge their support by placing a heart on their location in the UK.

Please join us in showing these people our gratitude as we navigate this difficult time.

NHS heroes logo.png 

To pledge your support, just:

* Go to http://www.thanksamillionnhs.co.uk/

* Add your postcode to put a heart on the map and show your support for the heroes of the NHS


* Share the page to encourage others to show their support


17. BT Sport customers can ask for 1mth's bill credit - As there's no live sport, it's relented and is now allowing BT Sport customers to claim a bill credit. Sky Sports lets customers pause their subscriptions.

18. Smart meter roll-out delayed, but this won't affect 'smart meter-needed tariffs' -  If you recently switched to a cheap tariff that requires you to have a smart meter fitted, don't worry - the fact the roll-out of meters has been stopped won't affect your tariff. You'll just be contacted to have them fitted when the situation allows.

You can find more help and advice at moneysavingexpert.com.

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Coronavirus in Scotland