The outbreak of COVID-19 and subsequent sequence of lockdown measures that are being gradually enacted across Europe and the rest of the world has caused no shortage of disruption. While Rishi Sunak’s first budget of 2020 did provide some welcome relief to small business owners, more on that here, the governmental guidelines for self-isolation have left many freelancers and workers out in the cold.
Although some individuals are able to perform their role from isolation, otherwise known as work-from-home, there are many others either in the arts and entertainment industries or from low-tech roles that don’t enjoy that same flexibility. And given that a city-wide lockdown could last for several months, this situation raises unnerving questions about how someone might afford to pay their rent and utilities while on severely reduced pay.
Responding to this, we’ve put together a short piece containing advice on how to meet the cost of living while you are unable to earn should your area go into lockdown.
The UK government have made a bid to protect those in the most vulnerable housing situations by introducing emergency legislation that institutes a blanket ban on new evictions from social housing. The MHCLG (Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government) announcement is consistent with the NHF’s determination that housing security should not be subject to the pandemic. The legislation is being treated as an urgent priority so eviction proceedings will not be able to be undertaken for at least three months.
“[no one] should be evicted because of the coronavirus”.
-National Housing Federation
Additionally, housing secretary Robert Jenrick has confirmed a £500m commitment by the government for councils to aid support of financially precarious individuals and households. The latest declaration comes off the back of a similar announcement earlier this week that mortgage payers would have their costs frozen for the three-month period as well.
“I can confirm we will be bringing forward legislation to protect private renters from eviction.”
-Boris Johnson PM
As Johnson has made abundantly clear, it is essential that this financial strain not simply be snuck into someone else’s pocket-in this case portfolio landlords and their lenders.
Despite these measures, number 10 has undergone some fire for not extending similar protections to low income private renters. However, as the financial burden of COVID-19 and containment measures intensify, it is likely that financial support will be increased proportionately to match the need it creates.
Citizen’s advice bureau is offering comprehensive guidance on how to apply for financial aid should you not be protected by these new legislation’s. Specifically, the CAB website will help you understand whether or not you are eligible for housing benefits and, if so, how to go about applying for them.
However, the primary advice we can offer is communication, with your landlord or housing provider, and intelligent budgeting. Setting up a repayment scheme that can come into effect when you are able to return work can be effective during difficult times.
It should be said that during times of financial uncertainty, income is often outside of our control and this feeling of helplessness can be almost as crippling as the income insecurity itself. However, acknowledging that which is within our control, such as spending and reducible costs can empower us to not only mitigate stress but also the financial impact of the challenges we are facing.
We specialise in helping both individuals and organisations to become informed and empowered in regards to their utilities spending, pay us a visit to find out how we might be able help you.