Update: 26 November 2020
Londoners deserve huge credit for doing exactly what has been asked of them since the start of this pandemic and we have managed to keep the number of cases lower in our city than most other parts of the country since the summer – and protect our NHS.
With cases gradually falling, it makes sense that London has today been placed in Tier 2 of the new Covid restrictions when England exits lockdown on December 2. I know this news will be welcomed by our local businesses in what is for many the busiest time of the year.
Labour has demanded clarity from the Government on its plans for a vaccine rollout, but I remain concerned that the failures of leadership we continue to see from this Government are coming at an economic and human cost.
Johnson’s speech provided no clarity on why the tier system which didn’t work last time would this time around. Nor has he used this lockdown to fix test and trace, sack failing Serco and put these crucial services back in the hands of local councils who have the expertise and knowledge. Instead, Johnson and Hancock have overseen the system’s costs rise to £22 billion a year – nearly equivalent to a fifth of the entire annual NHS budget.
I know how tough this winter lockdown has been for so many – the Government needs to get its act together so this is the last.
Update: 23 November 2020
Haringey Council have now published details of the support grants for businesses who have been forced to close during this second national lockdown. Click here for more information.
Update: 21 November 2020
For 45 years, Jacksons Lane have been providing a Christmas Day dinner for 100 elderly or disabled people in the local community. This year because of Covid it’s going to be slightly different, but they still need your help. Find out how you can get involved here:
Update: 5 November 2020
As we enter the second national lockdown it is clear that the situation will be difficult for many.
Help, support, and advice is available for all forms of issues, whether that is the latest Covid-19 information or support for financial struggles.
Coronavirus – Getting help and support
NHS 111 Online:
The official NHS 111 website contains up-to-date health-related information and advice on coronavirus, including a symptom-checking tool.
Haringey Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB)
Haringey CAB have suspended their face-to-face appointments and outreach service, but you can still access their adviceline on 0330 330 1187.
The charity Turn2Us provides up-to-date advice and practical help to anyone struggling financially. You can talk to one of their advisors about any financial concerns you have by calling 0808 802 2000 between 9am and 5.30pm, Mondays-Fridays. You can also email Turn2Us at [email protected]. Turn2Us also provide signposting and information on their website and have a helpful benefits calculator tool, and a grants search.
Grant finder: https://grants-search.turn2us.org.uk/
Benefits calculator: https://www.turn2us.org.uk/
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
If you have been told to self-isolate, you may be entitled to SSP from day 1 (previously, this was only available from day 4 of your illness). SSP is available to those who have been classed as an employee and have been earning on average £118 per week. SSP is £95.85 per week, paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks. You may get more if your company has a sick pay scheme and you should check your employment contact to find this out. Sick notifications will be obtainable by calling 111, which you can use as evidence for absence from work.
NHS Test and Trace Self-Isolation Support Payment
If you have been told to self-isolate by Covid-19 NHS Test and Trace and are losing pay because you cannot work, you may be able to claim up to £500. Haringey Council’s website has a dedicated webpage on who is eligible for this payment and how to access it, which can be found here: https://www.haringey.gov.uk/council-tax-and-benefits/housing-benefit-and-council-tax-reductions/nhs-test-and-trace-self-isolation-support-payment
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
For employees not currently working but retained by their employer, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme means employers will be able to apply for a grant from HMRC to cover 80% of wages up to a limit of £2500 per month. This will mean you are a ‘furloughed’ employee. This scheme continues until the end of March, following prior announcements it was due to end in November.
Acas have a useful webpage providing further details and updates on changes to the scheme here: https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus/furlough-scheme-pay
If you are self-employed and your income has been affected by Covid-19, for example you lost out on income or had to stop working to look after someone, you may be eligible to access financial support. The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme initially ended on 20 October, however it has been extended from 1 November. The grant extension comes in the form of 2 further grants, each available for three-month periods covering November 2020 to January 2021 and February 2021 to April 2021. The Government will provide a taxable grant calculated at 80% of 3 months average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £7,500 in total. To claim for the grant extension, you must have previously been eligible for the SEISS first and second grants. More information can be found on the Government’s website here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/self-employment-income-support-scheme-grant-extension/self-employment-income-support-scheme-grant-extension
Although evictions resumed in September 2020, no evictions by bailiffs will take place during the national lockdown. The government has also said that there will be a temporary pause on evictions between 11 December and 11 January 2021. Your landlord can still give you notice or start court action during national lockdown, but the whole process will take much longer. Some court hearings will go ahead, and you will get a letter from the court with the date. The housing charity Shelter recommends getting legal advice on your next steps if you do receive a letter, and you can find out how to access legal aid or free legal advice here: https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/complaints,_courts_and_tribunals/legal_aid_and_free_legal_advice
From 29 August, all section 21 notices must give at least 6 months’ notice. Most section 8 notices should also give 6 months’ notice, but there are some exceptions, which can be found here: https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/coronavirus?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI7ui4s73r7AIVYIBQBh1wnQYzEAAYASAAEgIpLPD_BwE#Eviction_and_being_asked_to_leave
Mortgage payment holidays
Lenders are extending the offer of payment holidays to people who are struggling to pay their mortgage because of coronavirus. You can apply for a 3-month payment holiday unless you’ve already had 2 payment holidays since March. Shelter have advised that people should only ask for a mortgage holiday if absolutely necessary, as your mortgage payments will normally increase after the holiday ends.
If you are struggling to pay rent due to Covid-19
Shelter advises that if you are having trouble paying rent, there are a few options you could look into which might help. For example, you can contact the Citizens Advice Bureau to check whether you are eligible to apply for benefits, apply for a dictionary housing payment through the Council (https://www.haringey.gov.uk/council-tax-and-benefits/housing-benefit-and-council-tax-reductions/discretionary-housing-payments-dhp), or talk to your landlord about a rent reduction.
Shelter’s webpage on housing advice and coronavirus provides further helpful details: https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/coronavirus?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI7ui4s73r7AIVYIBQBh1wnQYzEAAYASAAEgIpLPD_BwE#Eviction_and_being_asked_to_leave
For urgent housing advice or to talk an expert housing advisor about any questions you have, you can call Shelter’s helpline on 0808 800 4444. You can also talk to a Shelter advisor online via their free webchat service: https://england.shelter.org.uk/get_help/webchat
If you are worried about how Covid-19 will affect your employment, the organisation Acas can provide advice on a range of employment-related issues, including support for the sick, self-employed or furloughed. Acas advisors will not give you their opinion or legal advice, but they can highlight relevant guidance and explain your employment rights to you.
Acas helpline: 0300 123 1100
Advice for employees and employers on Covid-19: https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus
Haringey Council Connected Communities
Support through the Council is available if you are worried about the impact of Covid-19 on your finances, or if you are struggling to access essential items and need practical support. You can call Haringey Council’s Connected Communities team on 020 8489 4431 for further advice. This line is open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.
Linked to Connected Communities, Haringey Council’s Haringey Together team are also able to offer advice and guidance on a range of issues, including how to access emotional support for bereaved families and Haringey’s befriending service. The Haringey Together webpage provides more detailed information on how they can help: https://www.haringey.gov.uk/covid-19/need-help
A map of Haringey’s food banks can be found on Haringey Council’s website here: https://www.haringey.gov.uk/covid-19/foodbanks
If you are struggling with your gas or electricity bills or are unable to top up your pre-payment meter, in the first instance it is best to contact your supplier directly to see what help they can offer. For example, some companies can provide fuel vouchers, or extend your emergency credit.
Contact details for your supplier can be found on their websites, however the phone numbers for the main suppliers are listed below.
British Gas – 0333 202 9802
EDF – 0333 200 5100
EON 0345 052 000
N Power – 0800 073 3000
Scottish Power – 0800 027 0072
SSE – 0345 026 2658
Parents, young people and staff can contact the Department for Education Helpline to ask any questions about COVID-19 and education and children’s social care.
Phone: 0800 046 8687 (Open: 8am to 6pm Monday-Friday and 10am to 4pm Saturday-Sunday)
Email: [email protected]
Mental health support
You can contact Mind in Haringey on 020 8340 2474.
The Samaritans can be contacted 24/7 on 116 123