The economic downturn associated with coronavirus means that many people who’ve always worked are now having to claim benefits, because they’ve lost their job or had their hours reduced.
Unfortunately, we anticipate more people will be affected over the next few months, particularly as the Furlough scheme comes to an end, and extra costs such as winter heating bills begin to build up.
It is better to get advice on money problems sooner rather than later, and getting advice from a reliable source can help people to borrow money safely – for example, from a local Credit Union rather than from Loan Sharks and other high interest rate lenders.
Good sources of support people who are struggling to buy food or essentials because of financial difficulties can contact the Ways to Welfare community support team at https://www.cumbria.gov.uk/welfare/support.asp
And/or via the Cumbria Support Line: 0800 783 1966
Citizens Advice at http://citizensadvicecumbria.org.uk can also provide advice around applying for benefits (and around accessing the additional support available to those on benefits, such as free school meals and support with utility costs/bills), debts, and housing problems.
They can also help even if people are simply worried about reduced hours or redundancy as the furlough scheme comes to an end. The local phone numbers for the South Lakes: 03444 111444 (for debt & ongoing enquiries) or 01539 446464 (for new enquiries)
Cumbria Law Centre may be able to provide advice about employment, housing, debt and benefits. You can call 01228 515129 or email email@example.com
You can find out more here www.cumbrialawcentre.org.uk/
People can also get in touch with the National Debtline – online, with webchat and email support options at https://www.nationaldebtline.org/
or by phoning 0808 808 4000. Advisors available Monday to Friday 9am – 8pm, and they have a specific webpage for Coronavirus information: at https://www.nationaldebtline.org/Pages/coronavirus-and-your-money.aspx