The Jamat should be aware that we have no estimation of the time period that this virus will impact our daily lives and economic well-being and ensure they are taking measures to protect themselves and their families by creating a reserve fund that can help sustain themselves in the short and medium term.
AKEPB will do its utmost to continue to update the Jamat during this difficult time, we also encourage the Jamat to check official government websites on changing regulations and daily updates. We have included some useful websites at the end of this document
1. Housing Payments
- The UK government recently announced that those in difficulty because of coronavirus would be granted a three-month mortgage holiday. Jamati members with mortgages are encouraged not to assume they will automatically be given a payment holiday and to speak with their mortgage lender to confirm if they are eligible and for further details. Whilst a mortgage holiday could provide you temporary relief, it will mean that your mortgage balance and payments will be higher than they were before the holiday. Please ensure that you understand the terms of the holiday payments.
- Jamati members who are renting are encouraged to have conversations with landlords to discuss flexibility in rent payments given the mortgage holiday that landlords may benefit from
- The government is in the process of passing emergency coronavirus legislation that prevents tenants from being evicted by landlords for a period of three months. Please note this has not yet been confirmed but appears likely in the coming days
- To date there have been rumours of relief on utilities. No formalised plan has been released. In the interim, if you are unable to cover the costs of your utility bills, contact your utility provider to discuss a payment plan
- Now is a good time for families to create budgets if they do not have one, or review existing budgets to plan for the coming months. Ensure that you are monitoring what you spend against what you earn. The Jamat is encouraged to put aside a reserve fund at all times but in particular this is more important during this uncertain economic time.
- If you are affected by the virus and cannot work, you may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay of £94.25 per week from your employer.
- Those who are self-employed may be able to make claims for Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance. To apply please contact Jobcentre Plus.
- For those who are experiencing reduced hours, have been made redundant or are experiencing difficulties in generating income please note that employment opportunities are available with companies who remain open at this time including Amazon and grocery stores including Tesco’s, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose. Please check their websites directly for any opportunities available. Should Jamati members choose to take one of the jobs, please ensure you are in good health and understand the risks to yourself and those around you if you are outside at this time.
- There may also be ways to supplement income at home including opportunities with call centres. Please check websites such as totaljobs.com and upwork.com. We have included a list at the end of this document.
- Review discretionary and non-discretionary expenses and make amendments where possible. For example, families can save by suspending or refunding unused subscriptions and direct debits such as gym memberships, reducing take-away meals and cooking at home, and avoiding purchases of non-essential clothing items. Please note that insurance premiums should continue to be paid at all times.
- If holidays have been booked, do not assume they will be automatically cancelled and refunded. Proactively contact the hotel / airline or travel agent to seek reimbursement.
- With offices closing, it may also be helpful to evaluate seeking a refund for season train tickets. Contact whoever you purchased the ticket from to check how much you can get back.
- Now is also a good time to review expenses to ensure you are getting the best price for services being used more frequently at home such as broadband, cable and energy costs.
- Note that no plans have been announced for general council tax reductions or payment holidays. In the interim if you are unable to cover the cost of your council tax, please contact your local council to discuss your options.
- Life insurance – if you have a life insurance or a critical illness policy, the Associate of British Insurers says you should be covered by claims related to coronavirus, but the Jamat is encouraged to contact your insurance provider to confirm.
- The government has cut interest rates by 0.65% so savings accounts will generate less income.
4. Personal debt
- Although interest rates have come down, the Jamat should exercise caution when taking on new debt. Credit card debt is costly can be easy to accumulate. The average UK credit card interest rates is as high as 20%. It is critical that individuals ensure they have a means to repay debt they are withdrawing and understand the terms of their credit companies
- Those who are unable to pay credit card debt or personal loans from banks because of coronavirus should contact their lender. A number of banks have expressed flexibility in waiving fees for missed payments or developing payment plans.
Please note that legislation is being passed daily so the Jamat is advised to pay close attention to updates from the government on economic topics.
The AKEPB also offers an advisory service for individuals seeking guidance on their personal finances including budgeting, employment situation and businesses. Members of the Jamat wishing to avail of this service should contact the Coronavirus Support Team on 020 8191 0911 or email [email protected]