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Sorry to hear you’re struggling to get in touch with them. I don’t have any contacts that I could get in touch with; however, the questions you want to ask them are the sort that they will make sure to communicate with customers if and when such a merger happens.
Rumours of mergers can take ages to actually come to fruition (if ever at all), so it can feel like ages before you get any details as a customer. However, legally, they do have to provide you with information once contracts etc are signed for a merger to go ahead – so you won’t be left behind wondering what’s happening. They’ll write to all of their customers, at least by email and/or text, and usually in a letter as well, because they must notify people of any changes to their contracts (i.e., who their provider is/changes of name etc).
So, while I can’t help directly, I can say not to worry – the merger was confirmed in May 2020, but the paperwork and actually getting it sorted can take a very long time to sort out. As a customer, they’ll definitely get in touch when all the details are clear!
The good news is that you can gift your children £3,000 each every year without any tax implications for either you or them. If you didn’t give them anything in the previous tax year, you can gift £6,000, as you can roll last year’s allowance over.
If you want to give them more, you absolutely can. The risk here, in terms of Inheritance Tax, is if you die within 7 years of providing that gift. If you do, then the money you give them is subject to IHT on a tapered scale – so, if you die one year after the gift, it’s a lot more IHT than if you die six years later.
While this may seem a concern, the way to look at it is this: even if they do have to pay IHT on the tapered scale (which we hope won’t be the case and that you’re in good health!), it will still be less than if you waited to leave them all the money in your will. So, gifting cash now can be a good way to reduce your inheritance tax bill.
The main thing to be cautious about, though, is if you think you’ll need state-funded assistance (such as a care home or home visits from carers) in the next few years. Or, if giving the money away means you won’t have much to live off and you’d need to claim state benefits. In both instances, giving your money away is seen as Deprivation of Capital – and could exclude you from making those claims. So, the main thing here, is to give away only what you can afford (even though it’s tempting to help children out as much as possible!).
I hope that helps 🙂June 2, 2020 at 12:00 in reply to: What are some of the eco-friendly habits you’re now using since lockdown? #151689
I’ve changed habits more than products. I’ve stopped being so lazy and now walk into town instead of drive! Saves me a bunch on petrol. I’ve also learned some new 20 minute recipes, so when I’m tempted to order food I decide to cook instead – with the stuff I already have (which otherwise might be wasted).
Our information is correct – however, if you are paid monthly, you may have worked during March but not been eligible for furlough.
The payroll is not by February/March – it’s 19th March as long as the employee has had their RTI submission from accounts to HMRC by that date. That means that someone starting in the beginning of March may not be eligible for furlough if they are paid monthly – because RTI submissions are usually completed only a few days prior to payday. The full Government advice is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-which-employees-you-can-put-on-furlough-to-use-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme
So, you could’ve started on 1st March (or even at the end of February, if your first week’s pay was rolled onto March’s pay) and still not be eligible.
You say you were on the payroll on 16th March; had your RTI been submitted by then, or did you start your job on that date? If the latter, you wouldn’t be eligible (unless the RTI had been submitted prior to 19th March which, if you’re paid monthly, is unlikely). If the former, you ARE eligible for furlough if your employer is choosing to use the scheme.
Originally, the advice was 28th February as the cut-off, but this was revised in March to the 19th March RTI date to reflect the number of people left out of the scheme. (see here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/furlough-scheme-cut-off-date-extended-to-19-march)
I hope that helps!
Office furniture! I couldn’t look at wonky stacks of books on the floor any longer. Invested in a bookshelf and suddenly everything is much tidier.
And also new patio furniture because sunshine.May 29, 2020 at 13:49 in reply to: What have you cut off to save money during lockdown? #151624
I work from home anyway, so haven’t changed too much. However, I have saved a lot on going out for coffee. As a freelancer, it’s my treat to myself – take an hour out at the local cafe after a finished project, or to have some ‘cogitating time’ before starting one.
I’ve also switched supermarkets and have stopped buying brand names (plus a lot more fruit and veg, which is much cheaper than processed stuff).
Oh, and I cancelled my Xbox Live subscription and wangled the Audible three-months-reduced trick to halve the cost of that (you can do it by going to ‘cancel my membership’ and before cancelling it gives you the option for £3.99 a month instead of £7.99).
Funnily enough, I’ve actually INVESTED in more subscriptions to save me more overall. As I work from home and am not a fan of going shopping anyway, I’ve bought a couple of those ‘£6.99 for a full year’s next-day delivery’ subscriptions for my favourite retailers. When delivery is usually at least £3.50 these days, it’s a no-brainer for someone who spends most of her money online!
Oh, this was a Friday afternoon boost to read! I’m so glad you found us and find the information useful. We always want to write articles that help our readers – so if there are topics you’d like to see covered, let us know!
Oh, what a pain! Unfortunately, a lot of insurers are using this vague clause as an excuse to not pay out. Does the small print of your insurance premium cover ‘contagious illnesses’ or similar? Some policies had blanket cover for any recognised contagious illness, and now COVID-19 is officially a reportable public health issue, insurers MAY cover it.
That’s an excellent plan, Magda!
The best piece of advice I’ve heard is ‘pay yourself first’ (a quote from our own Jasmine, no less!). When you get paid, siphon off an amount into your savings BEFORE paying your bills etc (as long as you can afford to save, obviously). It makes it much easier to build up savings as you don’t think you’ve got that extra cash to spend each month if it’s tucked away into a savings account.
Also, not to be scared of stocks and shares. It seemed like a scary world to me for ages – but now, equities ISAs and stock investment platforms are likely to offer better returns (in the long run) compared to the APPALLING level of savings interest currently on offer!May 29, 2020 at 13:31 in reply to: Casual and Zero contracts for furlough eligibility #151620
Yes – as long as someone was on payroll (and had their RTI submitted) by 19th March 2020, zero hours workers are covered by furlough.
Either the number of hours worked/pay earned in February 2020 will be used to calculate furlough pay, or the equivalent monthly average of the previous 12 months’ earnings, whichever is higher. The same things apply in your contract, like holiday accrual – however, if you’re not working, you may not ‘earn’ the holiday as a zero hours worker. It depends on your specific contract, so something you need to talk to your employer about!
Hope this helps 🙂
Oh my goodness, what a position they’ve put you in! As Jasmine suggested, if you can switch to an accessible bank, that’s always an option.
Do you have a smartphone? Most banks have a banking app now, with instant chat available. I’ve got both Natwest and Moneybox, and have found their live chat features really useful. If they can’t reply right away, you get a notification text when they have managed to get around to your query. The Natwest one is a little bit annoying as you have to go through the AI bot for a few questions first, but if you type in something like ‘speak to customer service’ it usually cuts to the live chat.
It may also be worth considering – if it’s financially suitable to do so – adding your mum to your accounts if you can. That way, she can go to the bank on your behalf or call up as a joint account holder and manage the account for you.
Let us know how you get on – and, as Jasmine mentioned, if we can reach out to your bank on your behalf.
I’m in York – most people are still sticking to the rules, but we’re lucky in that the city is REALLY walkable or easy to cycle around.
The main streets are wide enough / pedestrianised so you can walk distanced from each other, but once shops start to open again it’ll get packed I think. The small alleys, snickets, ginnels and of course the famous Shambles and surrounding streets should stay closed for a long while yet.
It’s hard for many businesses here, because we started the year with horrendous flooding, too. In fact, the media SAID we had horrendous flooding, so our tourism plummeted. In reality, it affected none of the city centre and people could’ve easily enjoyed their visits here (the flooding WAS really bad, but the city is prepared for it and the defences held it back from the entire city centre other than a few riverside properties that normally flood anyway!). So, the city economy already took a massive hit at the start of the year, and now it’s facing an even bigger and longer-term downfall in trade. Tourism is the centre of our city economy here – and I think a LOT of places are going to close. But I’m not sure opening them up soon will do much – especially if hotels can’t yet open either. If people can’t come to stay here, they’re not likely to want to visit!
This is a complex one! And it all comes down to the interpretation of the word ‘expect’.
The Government says it doesn’t EXPECT public sector organisations to need to furlough – EXCEPT where those staff roles are not in existence due to the virus. Tutoring services, for example, that can’t be (or aren’t) done online – so you can’t do your job – means the school CAN apply to furlough you.
The scheme has also been extended to anyone on payroll on 19th March 2020 – that may not affect your position, but it’s worth knowing in case it helps!
They’ll use your average earnings from the last year (or February’s pay, whichever is higher) to work out the 80% figure.
Schools have been in a particular grey area on the furlough front – but they can definitely furlough any staff who can’t be reallocated or complete their role at the moment, especially if they intend to hire you after the lockdown ends (i.e., retain your job, which is what the Job Retention Scheme is all about!).
Good luck with this – I hope this info has helped!
If you pay yourself something as a salary, you could furlough yourself now to receive 80% of that salary for a couple of months. It’d help keep cash in the coffers for later down the line.
Yes, definitely! Mine started young (18) and so took years to get diagnosed, but as a bit of light for you – once you get a rheumy involved, it gets easier as they’ll help figure it out and you can access pain management therapies that the GP might not offer. Dog walking and exercise is good for it though, keep that up!
I hope you manage to sort things out money-wise before the baby comes – if you’re still unsure, it’s worth calling the job centre or your citizens advice centre as they’ll have specific knowledge surrounding your circumstances 🙂
What a tricky situation! Sorry to hear about this stress.
While your NI payments were short last year, I think previous years’ contributions also count, rather than the most recent one (especially if you’ve not claimed anything yet). You could also qualify for the means-tested version, which doesn’t take your NI contributions into account.
Universal Credit involves New Style Employment and Support Allowance, which will give you some support while you’re not working. If you don’t qualify for UC, contributions-based ESA is still available (though a bit of a headache to get, sometimes – you may need to speak to a few people to get the right forms for it!). If you qualify for one of these benefits, you could access additional help for your rent or primary residence mortgage payments (though this is more like a loan that must be repaid in 12 months, and won’t cover interest payments). You could also request a mortgage holiday on your mortgage to free up cash flow right now, if you need.
I feel for you on the chronic pain/fibro front – I’ve got the same, and it’s a real humdinger of an issue when you’re trying to work, isn’t it? However, if you have these problems and claim ESA, you could be eligible for the additional premiums for those unable to work due to ongoing chronic conditions. Under UC, this is around an extra £300 a month. It involves a Work Capability Assessment – which has been temporarily suspended due to distancing measures – but it does get backdated. If you apply, and they decide you’re eligible for the extra, it gets paid in a backdated lump sum, which could help you out in the future. You could also claim Personal Independence Payment, which isn’t means-tested and is available for those receiving disability benefits (i.e., ESA premiums) – even when you go back to work.
You mention you work for yourself – is your entire income from shares? If not, it could be worth furloughing yourself to claim on the Job Retention Scheme based on your usual salary (not that of your income protection payments). Alternatively, you could consider making yourself redundant – this would further your entitlement to benefits that may not be available while you’re technically employed.
When your baby is born, you’ll have access to additional benefits such as Child Benefit, which will help your cash flow.
I hope this is of some help! Good luck 🙂