Just the Bare Necessities ....
by Carolyn Barber
The coronavirus lockdown measures have now officially pushed the UK into an economic recession following the biggest slump on record during April to June this year. A Briefing Paper for the House of Commons said:
"Consumers may be reluctant to return to ‘normal’ spending patterns. This may be due to health concerns but also perhaps due to concerns over their income. A key factor will be how high unemployment levels rise. Particularly important is how many employees currently furloughed will return to work and how many will become unemployed. Uncertainty may also dampen businesses’ inclination to invest."
Financial difficulties are a common cause of stress, anxiety and depression, and the stigma of debt means that people often don't seek help. Essentials may be cut back such as heating or eating. The numbers of people being referred to foodbanks is just one indicator, and during lockdown those already struggling with the pressures of insecure work, high rents and child care costs are likely to be worst affected by the economic impact of the pandemic.
Its all too easy to get into a negative cycle whereby financial worries and uncertainty cause intense anxiety, made worse by cutting back on essentials or aggressive creditors. This in turn makes it harder to manage spending or debts, and harder too to ask for help. But help is exactly what's needed, both with taking care of mental health, and with guidance about money and practical support to get through this incredibly difficult time.
Here are three weblinks to explore:
Martin Lewis of Money Saving Expert fame has set up a charity which focuses on Money and Mental Health, campaigning for more support to help people access essential services, and get help with managing money.
The Money Advice Service offers free and independent advice, set up by the government. They offer a Money Navigator Tool in response to the impact of the coronavirus lockdown.
Turn2us is a national charity helping people when times get tough. They provide advice on benefits and access to financial support to help people get back on track.