Weekend personal finance news roundup: Saturday 16th May 2020
In our weekend personal finance news roundup, the five money stories you need to know from the past seven days.
In this edition – extended furlough scheme, self-employed grant claims, and property market open for business.
Extended furlough scheme
The Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme will be extended until October, with bosses able to keep employees on furlough until then.
Employers will continue to receive 80% of furloughed wages, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month. However, businesses will have to start sharing the costs of the furlough scheme from August.
Around 7.5 million people, or a quarter of the workforce, are currently on furlough, at a cost of £14 billion a month.
Self-employed grant claims
More than one million self-employed people have applied for government grants with claims to date of more than £3bn.
The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme allows self-employed people whose businesses are affected by the coronavirus pandemic apply for grants of 80% of their average monthly profit.
Under the current terms of the grant scheme, self-employed people can claim up to £2,500 a month for three months.
Property market opens for business
The English property market is open for business after the government told estate agents they can get back to work this week.
Property viewings can take place, as long as social distancing and health measures are taken. Removal firms and conveyancers can also restart their operations.
There is an estimated 450,000 buyers and renters with plans on hold since the start of lockdown.
Coronavirus debt cost
The total cost of tackling the coronavirus pandemic is forecast to reach £123.2 billion, according to the independent Office for Budget Responsibility.
Their latest estimate is up from £103.7 billion at the start of the crisis, with the higher cost of the government’s furlough scheme driving up costs.
The OBR expects annual borrowing to reach the equivalent of 15.2% of the UK economy this year.
Email scam warning
The Chartered Trading Standards Institute is warning about a seemingly endless stream of new scams targeting the public.
One new scam is an email claiming to offer a council tax reduction.
The fake email carries UK government branding and is allegedly from “The Government Digital Service Team”.
The email quotes the annual reduction amount and asks the recipient to click a link to “claim your council tax reduction now”, before asking for personal and financial details.