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Life after furlough: what support is available?


Creditfix > Blog > Creditfix Debt Help Blog > Life after furlough: what support is available?


When the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme ended almost a month ago on September 30, one million Brits were still on furlough.

A vital lifeline for workers over the last 18 months, the scheme covered the wages of 11.6 million people at a cost of almost £70 billion to the government during the pandemic.

Now with energy bills soaring and the end of the £20 Universal Credit uplift, many are worried about how they’ll cope now that furlough has finally come to an end.

Here we shine a light on the financial support still available and where to find it.

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What was the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme?

The Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme, more commonly known as the furlough scheme, was first introduced in March 2020 after COVID-19 forced the majority of the UK economy to close.

The government paid 80% of the wages of those unable to work up to £2,500 before eventually paying only 60% with a 20% top-up from employers in August and September.

Figures show that the number of people relying on the scheme peaked in May 2020 when an incredible 8.9 million people were on furlough. This dropped by the autumn, but numbers rose again in January this year to 5.1 million.

As the scheme ended in September, one million Brits were still being supported by the scheme.

What support is available now furlough has ended?

Despite calls for the furlough scheme to be extended, it ended on September 30.

The news came as a blow for many as its end came at the same time that the £20 Universal Credit uplift was also scrapped.

So, what support is available now?

The government has announced a new £500 million support fund to help vulnerable families over winter.

The Household Support Fund will help struggling families cover the cost of daily life, helping with essential expenses such as food, utilities and clothing.

Local councils in England will start to distribute small grants to millions of households in need of support this month. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive up to £79 million of the £500 million funding pot.

The government has said families will also continue to benefit from the energy price cap, the recent rise in Local Housing Allowance and increases in the National Living Wage.

Speaking of the Household Support Fund, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak said: “Everyone should be able to afford the essentials, and we are committed to ensuring that is the case.

“Our new Household Support Fund will provide a lifeline for those at risk of struggling to keep up with their bills over the winter, adding to the support the government is already providing to help people with the cost of living.”

Meanwhile, Thérèse Coffey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, has heralded the fund as a way to help vulnerable households as “we push through the last stages of our recovery from the pandemic.

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What other help is available?

If you’re worried about your finances after the end of the furlough scheme and aren’t eligible for the new Household Support Fund, it’s important to make sure you’re aware of what other benefits you could be entitled to.

You may be able to claim Universal Credit, as well as a range of other support benefits.

For further information about the benefits you may be entitled to, check out the government benefit checker here.

The tool is free to use and your answers will remain anonymous. It can help you discover what benefits you could get, offer information about how to claim as well as details of how your benefits could be affected if you start work.

If you’re worried about how to manage your debt, it’s important to seek advice as soon as possible.

There is a range of debt help options available to you, with some, such as an Individual Voluntary Arrangement, even stopping pressure to pay by the people and companies you owe money to and write off a percentage of what you owe.

If you’re concerned about continuing to keep on top of your debt, talk to Creditfix. Our advisors have supported more than 182,000 to manage what they owe and regain financial control.

Where can I get more advice on Life after furlough: what support is available? and other debt solutions?

To discuss your options and get the support you need to deal with your debt today, contact us now on 0800 0431 431 or click the button to get started


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