Martin Lewis shares a guide to mastering your lockdown finances

Money-saving expert Martin Lewis shares guide to mastering your lockdown finances – including how to claim a year’s tax relief if you’re working from home

  • MoneySavingExpert Martin Lewis shared complete guide to lockdown finances 
  • Offered guidance on furlough, tax breaks and payment holidays amid lockdown
  • Revealed when you can and cannot be placed on furlough and for what reasons
  • Told self-employed and those working at home could have tax break or reduction

Martin Lewis has shared his comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about personal finances during the third national lockdown. 

With many already struggling to cope under the tighter restrictions in the UK, the money saving expert has offered advice on what support is available to Britons across the country. 

His guide, shared in his weekly MoneySavingExpert.com newsletter, includes when you can and cannot be furloughed or take a payment holiday, and whether you are able to claim tax relief due to working from home. 

Here, FEMAIL reveals Martin’s top tips on things everyone should know about their personal finances during the Lockdown 3. 

Martin Lewis (pictured) has shared his comprehensive guide on everything you should know about your personal finances during the third national lockdown

FURLOUGH   

As part of the new lockdown in England, schools will close their doors until February 15, leaving many parents juggling work and childcare once again. 

If you are unable to work at home or cannot go into work because of your children being at home, Martin says you are eligible to be furloughed – however it will ultimately be down to your employer.  

Furlough is currently set to run until April 30, but Martin pointed out that an employee must have been on their employer’s payroll by October 30 last year to claim it. This applies to both zero-hours and agency workers.  

He explained that furlough does not have to be full time, and that your hours can be changed weekly. 

Martin’s guide, shared in his weekly MoneySavingExpert.com newsletter, includes when you can and cannot be furloughed and take a payment holiday. Pictured, Martin last year 

TAXES 

If at any point in the year you have been required to work at home, you are able to claim one year’s tax relief – for the full year’s expenses of working at home. 

The rebate is worth £60 or £125 and HMRC told MoneySavingExpert last week that around 1.4million have already claimed. 

To apply, you need a Government Gateway ID. To check if you’re eligible, visit the HMRC website.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) can be used until January 29 and means those who are self-employed and expect to suffer a significant loss in profit could receive up to £7,500.

Martin also warned those required to do a self-assessment form for the 2019/20 tax year not to miss the January 31 deadline, which was delayed last year for six months after originally being due on July 31 2020. 

PAYMENT HOLIDAYS 

Payment holidays have been available over the pandemic, meaning you can take a break from your repayments on a credit agreement for a short period and use the money to help with other credit commitments. 

For mortgages, cards, loans, car finance and other payments, holidays are available until March 31. 

Martin advised those who are struggling financially because of the Covid-19 pandemic are easily able to claim a holiday for three months followed by another three months. 

HOW MUCH ARE THE NEW BUSINESS GRANTS? 

£4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under

£6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000

£9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000

If you’ve already taken a payment holiday during the last two lockdowns, Martin said you are only able to take holidays for a total of six months overall.  

NEW BUSINESS GRANTS 

New business grants of up to £9,000 will be granted following the lockdown, with the Chancellor announcing yesterday the grants will be available per property to support retail, hospitality and leisure businesses forced to close in England. 

This is in addition to the Local Restrictions Support Grants and funding will be available through Local Authorities. 

RENTERS 

For those who are struggling to afford their rent due to the pandemic, Martin advised speaking to your landlord. 

‘Landlords and tenants may be financially hurting due to the pandemic, so forbearance, tolerance and meeting in the middle is best for both,’ the newsletter said.  

While landlords are able to claim a mortgage holiday and could help their struggling tenants, they don’t have a right to a rental holiday like mortgage holders do.  

STUDENTS  

Following the latest government announcement, the majority of students have been advised not to return to university, meaning many are at a loss with what to do about accommodation costs. 

Martin explained that while there is no automatic refund entitlement, some universities in England and Scotland have been offering rent refunds or discounts.  

With regards to tuition fees, students are not entitled to any money back as the government would argue the fact teaching is online does not mean the quality is reduced.   

HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR MONEY

Martin advised considering locking in fixed savings. According to the investment platform AJ Bell, the new lockdown means markets are now pricing in the odds of a UK interest rate cut this year at 50 per cent, and for it to stay as now at 50 per cent. 

He also suggested making he most of universal credit if you are able to, with the benefit available to many employed on low incomes, self-employed and unemployed people. 

Universal credit is available whether you are on furlough or receiving SEISS. At the ‘top end’ this can be worth £1,500 per month tax free. 

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