Cost of Living Crisis – What can you do to help your team?

Given the announcement on the energy price cap this morning, I am not going to apologise for sending the information below out again (originally sent out in May). The ever changing cost of living crisis will be affecting your staff in different ways, at different times. The situation that they were in a few months ago could be completely different now and if they have financial worries, then it could affect them at work. 

If you only have time to do one thing, please copy and share the information provided in section 2 below. The information provided in this message covers:

1. Some suggestions on how you might be able to help your team with their finances


2. A list of useful resources to copy and share with your team (now including the support being offered by British Gas to customers and non-customer)  

1. How Can You Help your Team?

Options might include:

  1. Allocating everyone some time during working hours to sit down and properly review their finances. 
  2. Sharing or signing everyone up to weekly money saving emails such as those from Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis Money Saving Expert – latest tips
  3. Contacting your local Citizens Advice representative to see if they can come in and speak to staff, either as a group or on a one to one basis Citizens Advice 
  4. If you are a HSBC business customer, you can access a series of free financial support sessions in the workplace for your employees help-and-support/financial-wellbeing
  5. Ask your own business banking or employee pension provider if they can offer any group or 1:1 finance sessions to your team. Many do provide this as a free service.
  6. Getting the team together to generate other ideas eg car shares or encourage them to share cost saving ideas with each other etc
  7. Look at schemes offered by companies such as Salary Finance, which can help employees with financial education, savings, affordable borrowing, salary advances Salary Finance – information for employers or Wage Stream which provides flexible access to pay all month earned-wage-access-flexible-pay 
  8. Share details of free cost of living information and advice resources such as those provided by Salary Finance at the-cost-of-living-squeeze and a free 30-minute webinar recording that can be watched on demand at how-to-cope-with-the-cost-of-living-squeeze
  9. The Open University has a small number of free finance related courses on different topics money-management/free-courses
  10. Apps such as Nudge, provide employees with quick and easy access to advice, reminders, and money management tools nudge-for-employees, Reward Gateway provides employees with access to discounts and other benefits rewardgateway 

There will never be one simple fix for everyone and everything, however keeping cost savings and financial support ideas visible and in conversations at work, might just help someone who is really struggling.

2. Financial Support Resources

Energy Individuals and Families Fund – You do not need to be a British Gas customer to apply for this fund – you can be a British Gas Customer, or a customer from another supplier but please check if your supplier has their own Trust Fund first. Full details here: https://bget.org.uk/login.php


Benefits
The benefits system can be complex, so don’t assume that you aren’t entitled to anything. The main page containing details of all benefits available can be accessed here: Benefits – GOV.UK

Specific pages that might be helpful:

Mortgages. Mortgage arrears or problems paying your mortgage. If you’re struggling with your mortgage repayments and can’t get back on track, its important that you don’t ignore the problem. There’s a lot of help available Mortgage arrears or problems paying your mortgage | MoneyHelper

Renting Help with rent arrears and problems with paying your rent If you can’t pay your rent, don’t ignore the problem. Talk to your landlord as soon as possible. Whether the problem is caused by a change of circumstances, a budgeting difficulty or a cut in benefits, you can take some important steps to help get yourself back in control and avoid eviction. Help with rent arrears and problems with paying your rent | MoneyHelper

Money Advice Service Free and impartial money advice, set up by the government. The Money Navigator Tool gives you action plans based on your own situation Money Navigator Tool

Budget Planning An effective way to gain money is to find ways to save and cut back. This tool helps you to work out how much money you have coming in, what you’re spending it on and provides personalised tips:  Budget Planner and Tips

Money Health Check Understanding your finances can help you to improve them. The every day money helper page provides a variety of tools that will help you to quickly work out the figures you need for some of the most common money situations you may find yourself in. The easy-to-use calculators can help you budget, save and cut back on costs. They can help you find impartial advisers, find out how much you might have in retirement, tell you how much extra money you need for your baby and much more. Some of the specific links are:

  • Car Costs Owning a car can be expensive.  The fuel, tax, insurance, maintenance and depreciation costs can all add up.  This calculator will help you to understand how much it will cost. Car Costs Calculator 
  • Credit Card Calculator Credit cards are like having a loan for the amount you’ve spent using the card. They’re easy to carry, offer a way to buy-now-pay-later, and give you buyer’s protection. It’s easy to get stung with a credit card though, and that’s where our credit card calculator comes in.
  • Loan Calculator – Before you get a loan, when you’re looking to pay off a loan a bit faster, or when you need to take a step back and see where your outgoings are – that’s the time to use our Loan calculator | Personal loan and interest payments | MoneyHelper
  • Bill prioritiser: Help if you’re struggling with bills and payments – It can be difficult to manage all the different bills and payments in our lives. The consequences of not paying off some bills before others can be more serious. Our Bill prioritiser can help you sort your bills and payments in the right order and tell you what you need to do if you’re struggling to pay before you miss a payment. Bill prioritiser


Money Saving Expert

Personal Debt

  • Debt Advice Locator If you’re worried about debt, you don’t need to struggle alone. Speaking to a trained and experienced debt adviser about your situation can help you see what the best decision for you might be. Debt Advice Locator | Syndication | MoneyHelper
  • Money Helper If you’re struggling to keep up with bills and debt payments, don’t worry – you’re not alone. We help hundreds of thousands of people with similar worries every year. There are lots of things you can do to resolve your difficulties, including getting free debt advice. Help if you’re struggling with debt | MoneyHelper
  • Negotiating with creditors The debt charity Step Change offers guidance and support on how to negotiate with creditors and prioritise repayments. StepChange Debt Charity – Free Expert Debt Advice