Five major Covid support schemes ending in TWO weeks – how to prepare

MAJOR schemes which have helped struggling Brits through Covid are set to end in just two weeks time.

Financial support for workers through furlough and grants for the self-employed will finish at the end of September.

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There are fears that Brits will struggle after support schemes end[/caption]

Hard-up families will also see the £20-a-week uplift to Universal Credit withdrawn, cutting income by over £1,000 a year.

Homebuyers will also find that tax rates when purchasing a property return to normal.

None of the schemes will be extended despite the government announcing how it will deal with the expected rise in coronavirus cases in its “winter plan”.

Plan B could see the return of mandatory face masks and work from home orders, but there will be no extended or new schemes launched to help people financially.

However health secretary Sajid Javid has said that financial support for those who have to self-isolate will still be available until March 2022.

Here we explain what’s changing and how you can prepare.

Furlough ends

The furlough scheme was first launched at the start of the pandemic to prevent millions of jobs being lost.

The scheme has supported the wages of millions of Brits and there are still nearly 2million Brits furloughed.

Furlough pays 80% of wages – up to £2,500 a month.

The scheme will end and no more payment will be made from October onwards despite calls for it to be extended.

The idea of furlough is that workers can return to their jobs after the country returns to normal after the pandemic.

But some business may still be struggling and could make furloughed employees redundant rather than bringing them back.

Unfortunately you can be made redundant when the furlough scheme ends – but your rights remain the same whether you’ve been furloughed or not.

Your full normal pay is used to calculate redundancy payments and exactly how much you get will depend on how long you’ve worked for the company and your age.

You can take a look at our guide on what happens during redundancy and your rights.

If you’re out of work you could be eligible for benefits like Universal Credit.

James Andrews, senior personal finance expert at money.co.uk, told The Sun: “It’s essential to act now in applying for any support schemes, loans or grants that you may need to keep yourself level.”

You can use benefit calculator tools to work out what you may be entitled to.

If you’re struggling with money you might be able to get a cash grant.

Turn2Us has a handy Grants Search tool to help you find out which charities you can apply to.

Covid grant for the self-employed closes

Many self-employed Brits have also been able to get help if their income has been hit by Covid.

There have been five Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grants handed out worth up to £7,500 each.

The fifth and final grant closes on September 30, so anyone eligible needs to apply asap if they haven’t already or they risk missing out.

We have a guide on who is eligible and how to claim.

There won’t be any further grants after this one but anyone still struggling can find further support.

If your income has fallen it’s worth checking if you could claim benefits to top up a low income – many who claim Universal Credit are also in work.

But be aware that how much you get can be affected by something known as the minimum income floor.

You can use benefit calculator tools to work out what you may be entitled to, and it’s worth checking for help available from Grants too using a search tool.

If you’re considering moving into employment there are a record number of vacancies and businesses are even offering bonuses to new joiners.

Check out our top tips for job hunting to help you land your next role.

Universal Credit uplift ends

The government introduced a £20 a week raise to help claimants through the coronavirus pandemic.

Six million Brits are set to see their Universal Credit payments cut despite widespread calls to make the extra money permanent.

Anyone on Universal Credit is being urged to check other help they may be eligible for, like a council tax discount.

Millions of Brits are also not claiming all the benefits they are entitled to so it’s always worth checking what you can get – a benefit calculator tool can help you do that.

Some charities may give grants to help with covering housing costs and most grants do not have to be paid back.

Charity turn2us has a tool that can help you check out grants available near you on its website.

If you’re struggling with rent there’s a little known pot of money handed out by councils to those struggling to keep a roof over their heads.

In the first instance if you can’t pay your rent, speak to your landlord as soon as possible.

They might give you more time to pay, or shrink your rent while you get back on your feet.

Some bills can cause you more problems than others if you don’t pay them, with rent, mortgage and council tax important to prioritise.

If you’re struggling, make sure not to stick your head in the sand and ask for help.

There are lots of groups who can help you with your problem debts for free.

  • Citizens Advice – 0808 800 9060
  • StepChange – 0800 138 1111
  • National Debtline – 0808 808 4000
  • Debt Advice Foundation – 0800 043 4050

If you can’t afford to buy food, you may be able to get a food bank voucher.

To get one, you’ll need a referral from a charity such as Citizens Advice, or other frontline professionals, which could be doctors and social workers.

They’ll give you one if they think you need emergency food.

You can find your nearest Citizens Advice by checking its website.

Winter Covid grant support scheme finishes

Families in England have just over two weeks left to access help paying for food and bills.

The government gave councils millions of pounds in funding to hand out help to hard-up Brits struggling through the pandemic.

Through the Covid Winter Grant Scheme, anyone who needs help can go to their local council for help.

The support you can get depends on where you live but The Sun uncovered that some areas have handed out as much as £1,500.

This scheme will end on September 30, so it’s worth applying now if you need help – you can use our guide on how to get it.

but there is other help you can get.

Once again, it’s worth checking you’re getting all the benefits you’re entitled too, and your eligibility for grants from charities.

Most local councils also offer other support, so it’s still worth asking them what help you can get if you’re struggling.

You can search for your local council on gov.uk and we’ve also rounded up the help you can get with bills.

Unfortunately the end of the help also happens at the same time that energy bills are set to rise, so it’s worth checking if you can switch to a better deal.

Stamp duty holiday ends

People have been saving money thanks to the temporary tax break that was introduced because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The stamp duty holiday was designed to boost the property market which almost came to a standstill when the pandemic first hit.

It has offered a reduction on the amount of stamp duty paid when buying a home.

The tax-free threshold is currently set at £250,000, which is double the normal allowance – previously it was £500,000 but it was reduced back in July as part of a phased ending of the scheme.

That will finish in September and from October onwards the rates will return to normal.

Anyone wishing to take advantage of the tax break will need to complete by October 1, so only those in the process of buying a house already are likely to meet this deadline.

The normal rates for stamp duty tax that will return are as follows but first-time buyers can still benefit from paying lower rates, and we’ve rounded up properties you still won’t pay stamp duty on even after the holiday ends.

  • First-time buyers pay nothing on properties below £300,000 (and relief available on properties of up to £500,000)
  • You pay nothing if the property costs below £125,000
  • You pay 2% if it is worth between £125,001 and £250,000
  • You pay 5% if between £250,001 and up to £925,000
  • You pay 10% if it is between £925,001 and £1.5million
  • You pay 12% on anything over £1.5million

For second homes or buy to let properties:

  • 3% on purchases up to 125,000
  • 5% on purchases between £125,001 and £250,000
  • 8% on purchases above £250,001 and £925,000
  • 13% on purchases above £925,001 and £1.5 million
  • 15% on purchases above £1.5 million

Stamp duty rates are different in Scotland and Wales

There’s also still loads of schemes in place which can help you buy your first home.

 

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