Martin Lewis, the personal finance expert and consumer champion, has urged people struggling with debt to consider applying for a payment holiday while they still have the chance.
Many thousands of people in debt have taken advantage of payment holidays this year as the pandemic took its toll but lenders are set to close down the schemes that made those options available.
Lenders have pledged to continue providing support to people struggling to make their debt repayments on time but the option of deferring those payments entirely is one that will no longer be on offer from November onwards.
With that in mind, Mr Lewis is advising people whose finances have been badly hit by the Covid-19 situation to consider applying for payment holidays to give themselves some breathing space.
“You’ve only got days left to apply for a three-month payment holiday – don’t delay if you need it,” he told readers of his latest MoneySavingExpert.com newsletter.
Mr Lewis went on to cite payment holiday options as being one of the most important policies to have been introduced to help people across the UK to cope with the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic from a personal finance perspective.
“Four key personal finance support pillars were put in place during lockdown - furlough, self-employment grants, a Universal Credit boost and the right to take three-month payment holidays on most debts,” he wrote in his newsletter.
“While as a nation we’re far from out of the pandemic’s clutches, these schemes are gradually being dismantled.”
According to official figures from UK Finance, which represents banks and other lenders, there have been over 1 million credit card payment deferrals and nearly 800,000 personal loan deferrals granted across the country since March.
Although payment holidays are not expected to be on offer after October 31st, lenders have committed to helping their customers in a variety of ways including by allowing them to make reduced repayments and establish new long-term repayment plans.
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The emergency £20 increase to Universal Credit payments introduced in response to the Covid pandemic could be taken away from prospective recipients from April next year.
Scotland is to become the first nation in the world to provide period products entirely free of charge to all its citizens who need them.
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