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Live Better Blog: May Round-Up

We’re almost half-way through 2021 (how time flies!) and as we prepare for another round of lifting restrictions, we’ll be taking a look back on the last month – a month full of new government schemes, a somewhat unexpected jobs issue, and a big focus on mental health…

Aaand breathe.

On the 4th May 2021, a new government measure came into force with the aim to protect people in temporary financial difficulties from getting into further debt.

The scheme is called Breathing Space (or Debt Respite Scheme), and it will be used to support people in managing short-term disruptions to their finances and help them to get back in control of their situation.

In a nutshell, those who enter into the scheme will be given a 60-day respite from any interest, charges, collections and enforcement action taken on their accounts – it’ll even cover local and national government debts.

However, Breathing Space is not a payment holiday – users of the scheme will still be expected to keep on top of their usual bills and contracted payments, albeit without the added stresses of creditor action.

Another thing? Breathing Space can only be accessed through an FCA-regulated debt advice provider, like MoneyPlus Advice.

We’ve written a lot more about the scheme and everything you need to know to access Breathing Space – read our blog here.

Knock-on effect.

The current jobs economy has had its fair share of ups and downs recently, but when we take a closer look, we can see that there is a growing knock-on effect happening…

One in ten hospitality workers have left the industry over the last 12 months due to the temporary (or permanent, in some cases) closure of many venues, leading to a high uptake of the furlough scheme and many redundancies across the sector.

Now that things are starting to re-open again, we’re seeing the effect this mass exodus has had on the bounce back of hospitality as a whole, as many venues struggle to re-hire for their debuts back into society despite expecting huge customer demand.

The under-25 age group has seen the biggest drop in employment overall, of which a large proportion were employed in the hospitality sector. But coupled with this is the fact that the second biggest drop in employment is within the over-50s group, which are currently experiencing the largest rate of unemployment in 30 years, according to the Resolution Foundation.

Not only this, but over-50s take longer to return to work, although there have been calls for specific retraining opportunities for this age group to get them trained up in different areas.

Hospitality could be one of them…

Mental Health Awareness Week 2021.

MHAW ran from 10-16 May this year, and the theme was nature… why? Well, after spending the best part of the last 12 months in some form of lockdown, it appears that millions of us turned to nature to get by.

In fact, according to the Mental Health Foundation’s research, 45% of us said that being in green spaces had been vital for our mental health during the pandemic. Wider studies also found that not only were people spending more time in nature during lockdown (when allowed), but they were noticing it more… a wild flower here, a birdsong there…

We recognise the importance nature plays in positive mental health, so let’s all take the time to Connect With Nature! Click here to discover the Mental Health Foundation’s top tips on connecting with nature to improve mental health.

We’re getting involved with this year’s theme by encouraging our staff to #ConnectWithNature, whether it’s eating lunch in the sunshine, or going for a walk around our local area.

“There is something to be wondered at in all of nature” – Aristotle

The small stuff.

Here are the latest bite-sized stories from across the personal finance world…

The big buy-back.

Do you have an old Billy bookcase lying around? You’re in luck. IKEA is now offering vouchers for trading in your old IKEA furniture under its new buy-back scheme.

The vouchers are worth up to 50% of the item’s original sale price (if it’s in good condition), and can be spent on purchasing new IKEA furniture – it’s not like we needed another reason to stop by the IKEA food hall…

The recycling initiative will re-sell the used furniture in-store to help the retailer’s aim to be ‘climate positive’ by 2030.

Car (insurance) crash.

Over the last 12 months, the cost of car insurance has fallen by over £87 to an average of £538 a year – the biggest drop in 6 years!

Why? We’re driving a lot less since the pandemic started, and many have made the move to working from home permanently, which means the risk of road accidents has gone down, and so has our insurance.

Party penalty.

More than 85,000 fixed penalty notices have been handed out in England since the start of the lockdown restrictions, with some as much as £10,000!

A parliamentary committee is proposing that these fines should be reviewed, saying that it disproportionately affects the less well-off, criminalising the poor over the wealthier in society, despite a government spokesperson saying it was right that there were consequences for rule-breakers…

We’re helping thousands with PPI 2.

The PPI 2 storm is upon us, but we’re prepared.

We’re currently helping thousands of customers make new PPI claims for up to £40,000 after a crucial court ruling.

Read our latest mention in national press to hear how we’re battling the storm.

WIN a beautiful bouquet from Bloom & Wild!

We’ve partnered with Bloom & Wild to give 5 of our social followers a monthly chance to win a free bouquet! To be in with a chance to win this month’s bloom, just do the following:

1. Like our Facebook page

2. Then share our latest Bloom & Wild post with the hashtag #12MonthsOfBloom

Simple! (Don’t forget to set your shared post to ‘public’, otherwise we won’t be able to see who shares it!)

Winners will be announced at the beginning of next month, so stay tuned to our social to see if you’ve won. (T&C’s apply –