Great Britain

Will furlough be extended if there’s a second wave lockdown?

BRITS who are worried about a second lockdown may be able to get help with their finances if tighter restrictions are introduced.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Friday a second wave of coronavirus was “inevitable” after seeing a rise in cases.

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He is expected to announce stricter rules on Tuesday to curb the spike.

Will furlough be extended?

Several MPs have called for furlough to be extended, including the Commons Treasury committee and former Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb.

But the Treasury has reiterated to The Sun today that its furlough scheme will end on October 31 as previously announced.

The scheme, which was launched on April 20, has helped more than nine million jobs.

A HM Treasury spokeswoman said: “By the time it closes, the furlough scheme will have been open for 8 months and helped to pay the wages of over 9.6 million jobs.

“But we will continue to innovate in supporting incomes and employment through our Plan for Jobs. 

“We’re helping employees get back to work, where they want to be, through a £1,000 retention bonus.

"And we are creating new roles for young people with our Kickstart scheme, creating incentives for training and apprenticeships, and supporting and protecting jobs in the tourism and hospitality sectors through our VAT cut.”

But there are other financial options available for people struggling with money.

Where to start

The government has a helpful quiz which outlines all the different situations that you might find yourself in.

It’s been created to help people work out if they need help financially with any of the following because of the outbreak:

You then answer a series of multiple choice questions explaining how you might need help and it takes you to different pages of support.

We’ve broken them down here.

You’ve lost your job or you’ve lost work

If you live in the UK or Northern Ireland, there are several options available to you if you’ve been made redundant.

You can either:

Citizens Advice and Shelter also offer support and guidance to people who can’t pay their bills, rent or mortgage.

Meanwhile, for job seeking advice, we’ve created several guides to help you towards your next job.

They include CV guides using free online tools, kickstart schemes if you’re 16 - 25 and grants if you’re disabled.

Make sure you check if your redundancy payout is fair too.

If you’re freelance or self employed, you still have until October 19 to apply for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme if you’re eligible and your cashflow has been affected since July 14.

Otherwise, you could be eligible for Universal Credit or the Employment Support Allowance.

Paying for food

If you’re finding it hard to afford food in England and Wales, you may be able to apply for Universal Credit, the government’s benefit scheme, or you could have a look for local food banks in your area.

Some places require a referral, so the best option is to go to your local Citizen’s Advice and book an appointment with an adviser.

If your situation is more urgent, you should contact your local council to see how they would be able to help you. Find out your local council here.

If you have kids or are pregnant, you can apply for free school meals or healthy start vouchers, where you’re given one £3.10 voucher per week to spend on milk, infant formula milk and vegetables.

In Scotland, you can also apply for Universal Credit, get free school meals, speak to your local council or could apply for the Scottish Welfare Fund.

In Northern Ireland, you could also apply for free school meal vouchers, apply for Universal Credit, Healthy Start Vouchers, speak to your local council and look at other financial support and benefits you could get by visiting NI Direct.

Housing

If you’re homeless, or worried about being homeless, you can speak to Shelter in Scotland, England or Wales (and the Scottish Government website has an extra page on homelessness) or speak to your local council.

In Northern Ireland, you can also call the Northern Ireland Housing Executive on 03448 920 908.

Meanwhile, the eviction ban, which was paused during the outbreak, came to an end on September 20.

Landlords will have to give tenants six months notice if they wish to evict renters and this will stay in force until March 31.

Shelter and your local council will be able to help you get advice if you’re facing eviction and not sure where to go next.

Northern Ireland’s Housing Executive can also help too.

Meanwhile, millions of Brits could be paid £500 if they need to quarantine.

Energy firms are also being given the power to switch off household heating with new smart meters.

And here are eight ways to solve Universal Credit and job centre problems.

Gordon Brown warns Rishi Sunak he must avoid 'cliff-edge' end to furlough scheme

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