Nine big financial changes happening this week – and how they will affect you

BRITS will want to be aware of nine financial changes happening this week that could hit your wallet this week.

From furlough ending to energy bill hikes, we explain all the key dates for your diary that you need to know about.

Furlough ends

Furlough will not continue after September, which means that you won't be able to receive the help after Thursday (September 30).

Under current furlough rules, employees get up to 80% of wages paid for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500.

Currently, the scheme sees firms paying 20% of the wages of furloughed staff, while the government stumps up the remaining 60%.

Although the chancellor has said the help will stop at the end of September, Unions have called for the furlough scheme to be made permanent in case there are future shocks to the economy.

Experts have also warned that the end of the government's flagship scheme could put one million jobs at risk.

Energy bill hikes

Households will see a record-breaking hike to their energy bill as of Friday, October 1.

Energy regulator Ofgem has announced the energy price cap is to rise from this point, meaning 11 million Brits will see their bills rise by £139 a year.

It means that bills will go up from the current £1,138 to £1,277 – which is the highest since the cap launched in January 2019.

E.on, SSE and EDF have already increased their prices to the maximum on the cap.

If you're worried about whether you can afford to pay for the rise, there are ways to beat the hikes.

You can save an average of £141 by switching providers and choosing a cheaper deal, according to Uswitch.

There are also government schemes where you can get help to meet your bills – including winter fuel payments, cold weather payments and warm home discounts.

Universal Credit £20 uplift ends

Those on Universal Credit have already started to receive alerts to warn them the end of the £20 a week uplift is fast approaching.

The £80 a month increase, which was introduced to help hard-up families during the Covid pandemic, will end on Friday, October 1.

The DWP sent out further notifications throughout August and September until the boost is scrapped at the end of next month.

To check your Universal Credit journal and statement, you should log on to your online account.

When you get your update will depend on when you usually receive your payment.

Claimants will be provided with information about how much extra they've been receiving, and when their final boosted payment will be made.

You'll also be told where to look for advice on managing money and budgeting.

Halogen light bulb ban rolls out

Sales of halogen light bulbs are due to be banned from October 1.

The ban was supposed to come into place from September but has been pushed back a month, The Sun has confirmed.

It means households will have to use LED lightbulbs from October instead.

Ahead of the ban, you may want to stock up on bulbs before it's too late.

You could also choose to put money aside to splash out on the slightly more expensive alternatives over the next month.

Households won't have to replace bulbs by the deadline though, so if you don't have enough stocked up before the sale ban you could replace your existing lights as and when you need to.

Fifth self-employment grant closes

Thursday, September 30 is the last chance to put your claim in for the fifth self-employment grant.

Self-employed Brits could get compensated for losses they expect to record between May 1 and September 30, due to the Covid crisis.

How much you can get depends on how much your turnover has dropped.

Turnover includes the takings, fees, sales or money earned or received by your business.

To make your claim, you’ll need to have two different turnover figures so HMRC can work out how badly you have been impacted by Covid.

You’ll need to work out your turnover for:

  • a 12-month period starting between April 1 2020 and April 6 2020
  • and either 2019 to 2020, or 2018 to 2019

If your turnover is down by 30% or more you will receive 80% of three months average trading profits, up to a maximum payout of £7,500.

But if turnover has fallen less than 30%, you will get 30% of three months average trading profits up to £2,850.

If you only became self-employed in the 2019/2020 financial year, you won't have to provide evidence of a drop in turnover and will get the higher amount.

Covid local support grant scheme ends

The Covid local support grant scheme will end on Thursday, September 30.

Local authorities were given £429million to dish out to vulnerable residents as part of the Covid Winter Support Grant in December, following pressure from footballer and anti-poverty campaigner Marcus Rashford.

But the payments vary based on where you live and how much support you need. 

The Sun found that some councils were handing out up to £1,500 to hard-up Brits to help pay for food, bills and other essentials.

Grants are often given on a case-by-case basis, with different application processes in place across the country. 

To apply you first need to identify which local authority area you live in.

Then you should visit the council’s website and find the relevant page for information on the Covid Local Support Grant.

If you can’t find the information online, visit the website’s “contact us” section, and either email or phone your council to find out how to apply in your area.

Eviction notices period returns to normal

The government has set in motion a Parliamentary procedure meaning the notice periods for evictions in England return to normal from this Friday, October 1. 

Eviction notices period currently stand at four months, after being slashed from six months in June.

But as of October 1, they will return to the normal pre-Covid period of time, which is two months.

This means Brits will have two months less to find a new place to live if their landlord wants them out, putting thousands of renters at risk.

If you're at risk of losing your home, charities such as Shelter can offer support.

It's also good to know your renters' rights and how to claim compensation if you are wrongly evicted.

VAT holiday changes

The value added tax holiday will change on September 30, which is this Thursday.

Last summer, VAT was slashed from 20% to 5% for food, drink and holiday businesses.

But from October, the tax will rise to 12.5% for six months.

It will then go back to the normal rate of 20% in April.

This means that households will have to pay more to eat out, go to the pub and on many more activities.

Stamp duty holiday finally ends

Budding homeowners have just days left to cash in on the last of the stamp duty holiday help.

The government scrapped stamp duty on properties up to £500,000 in July last year.

The full relief ended in June this year, causing a property market frenzy as buyers raced to beat the deadline.

However, the help didn't completely vanish – it tapered off.

The tax-free threshold currently stands at £250,000, but will return to its normal limit at £125,000 from October.

This means buyers are charged 2% of the value of the home that's worth between £125,001 and £250,000, and 5% above this up to £925,000.

But you can still avoid forking out for the tax – even when the stamp duty holiday ends.

This is because you won't have to pay ANY stamp duty holiday on properties worth £125,000 or under.

There are also exemptions for first-time buyers.

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