The Money and Pensions Service (MaPS) is encouraging people to pay extra attention to their financial wellbeing during the coronavirus pandemic, and to consider what protective steps they can take now to avoid money worries later on.
With coronavirus likely to cause disruption for a significant amount of time this year, the government-backed organisation is urging people to spend some time planning ahead to reduce the impact on their finances, as part of online guidance being published.
Coronavirus is causing unexpected changes of plan and expenses for almost everyone but people who could face the biggest financial impact include those who are self-employed and cannot work due to illness; people facing reduced hours and job insecurity; and those who are close to retirement.
MaPS guidance to everyone, no matter their situation, is that they should review their finances now, to help them avoid running into difficulty down the track.
Nick Hill, money expert at the Money and Pensions Service said:
“We know that many people are worried about their own and their loved ones’ physical health at the moment, but it’s vital people think about how coronavirus could impact their financial wellbeing too. While this is likely to be a stressful situation for many people, there are steps you can take now to prepare yourself to deal with any financial challenges, and to hopefully give you peace of mind during the coming months.
“A good starting point is to do an emergency budget and check what savings you have to bridge any gaps. You should also check with your bank, insurers and providers such as energy companies to see what support they can offer. If you still think you will struggle to make ends meet, there are free support services available to help you online and over the phone, whether you’re facing an emergency cash shortfall or you’re worried about debt.
“This crisis has happened very quickly and people may be looking at using credit or borrowing to tide them over. Some forms of borrowing can be very expensive so it’s vital people take time to understand all the options before they make a decision.
“This is also a very worrying time for people with pension savings, especially if they’re approaching retirement. The key thing is not to panic – you should avoid sudden decisions and get independent guidance or advice to help you weather the storm.”
MaPS covers the following guidance on the Money Advice Service website for people to manage their finances during the coronavirus outbreak:
- Your rights to sick pay and changes to claiming your benefits
- Step 1 Do an emergency budget
- Step 2 Check your insurance policies
- Step 3 Use your savings
- Step 4 Talk to your creditors if you think you’re going to miss payments
- Problems paying your rent or mortgage
- If you think you might not be able to pay gas or electricity bills
- What to do if you’re getting behind on car finance payments
- If you are worried about debt
- If you think you might have to borrow money
- High cost credit – things to think about
- Avoid loan sharks
- If you might need to claim Universal Credit
- If you’re worried about your pension
- If you’re worried about redundancy
- Talk to us
For more information visit the Money Advice Service website page Coronavirus and Your Money.
There is also a Money Advice Service Facebook Group for people to talk about their money worries related to coronavirus, which will also include useful tips: Coronavirus and your money
The Winter Grant Scheme is now open to Nottingham City residents in receipt of Council Tax Support, with or without children. With rising food costs, we hope this extra support will ease the strain on some families to help them through these difficult times.
10,000 vouchers are currently available as part of this scheme and selected applicants will be chosen on a first-come-first-serve base.
The scheme ensures successful applicants are issued with a £50 supermarket e-voucher to help with food and essential supplies.
Nottingham City Council also have a Winter Fuel Grant Scheme for those struggling with their electric, gas and water bills. £49 is provided to those in receipt of Council Tax Support with balances below £30 outstanding on their prepayment meter or those with more than £50 outstanding with your utilities provider (for credit billing customers).
To apply you will need to call us:
- Your name
- Council Tax reference number
- Contact telephone number
- and email
to 0115 9556677.
Alternatively, email us your telephone number and we will call you back - email@example.com.
Money Advice Service
Nottingham City Welfare Rights
Services still open through telephone appointments and our duty line remains open.
Telephone 0115 915 1355 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Nottingham-based advice services
(Citizens Advice, Nottingham Law Centre, St Ann’s Advice, Bestwood Advice, Meadows Advice, Clifton Advice):
Services cannot provide face to face currently, but are providing telephone and email help
Step Change Debt Charity
Contact them via telephone 0800 138 1111 or view their information online
National Debt Line
Contact them via telephone 0808 808 4000 or view their information online
The Welfare Rights service have some information on their website about the changes to Benefits due to COVID19.
DWP and Universal Credit
Nottingham Credit Union: Service Update
Phone line – 0115 828 3121 open 10:00 to 16:00, Monday, Wednesday and Friday only.
Open 09:30 to 13:00, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, only for members who have no other means of withdrawing cash. Please do not visit the branch for any other reason than this.
Email - any queries to email@example.com. We will review/respond within 3 working days.
You can apply for loans or our new Prize Saver account (and possibly win £5,000) from your Mobile App or using Online Banking and we will respond within 3 working days.
New members can apply for loans/membership at www.nottinghamcu.co.uk
Are you worried about making a loan repayment?
If your income has been impacted or will be impact be the current health crises and you are worried you may not be able to make your next loan repayment, please get in touch with us as soon as possible. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org and please provide as much information as possible and include:
- Name & Membership Number
- Home and Mobile Telephone Number
- How/why has your income been affected and for how long
- If you are not able to afford the full loan repayment, what payment do you think you can afford?
- What other money do you owe (e.g. rent and rent arrears, council tax and arrears, credit cards, mail order etc.) and what arrangements have you made with your other creditors?
- We will than review your circumstances and try to get back in touch within 3 working days.
The Stop Loan Sharks helpline service (0300 555 2222) remains open and fully operational during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We encourage not only victims but friends, family members and the wider community to come forward if they suspect someone is suffering at the hands of loan sharks.
Please help us raise awareness of the dangers of loan sharks and signpost people to support services by sharing the items attached.
Wishing all our colleagues and partners safety and good health during these difficult and uncertain times.
A list of food banks can be found here:
Please see below for some information about specific food banks:
(subject to changes)
St Ann’s & Sneinton Food Store:
The food bank is still operating and will be delivering parcels to people’s homes. Due to limited resources, currently we can only offer food to existing clients who have no funds. We are covering people in St Ann’s, Sneinton and Mapperley. We are working closely alongside other food banks. Click here for updates on this food bank.
Urgent appeal for donations
We are in need of donations to enable us to continue to support individuals during this difficult period. Non – perishable items and fresh fruit and vegetables will be gratefully accepted.
If you would like to donate…
- Donations can be dropped off at Chase Neighbourhood Centre Monday to Friday between 9am-3pm and Saturdays between 11-12am
- Please ring the doorbell and then leave your donation outside. We are unable to collect at this time due to limited staff. If it is a bulk collection please call us on 07979159095.
Most now offering deliveries, and collections at the door only
Grace Church Food Bank
Himmah Food Bank
Help with energy bills: 0115 985 3009 or www.nottenergy.com/news/emergency-food-vouchers
Support for those in, or at risk of, fuel poverty. Heating and insulation measures, alongside energy switching, water and energy discount schemes, Priority Service Register applications, referrals for benefit checks.
Additional support for those in need of food vouchers and fuel vouchers (£49 towards a Pre-Payment Meter).
No home visits at present, but telephone and email support still operating. https://nottenergy.com/ 0115 985 3009