Martin Lewis issues important warning on mortgages, sick pay and holidays amid coronavirus outbreak

16 March 2020, 13:55 | Updated: 17 March 2020, 16:44

Alice Dear

By Alice Dear

As cases of coronavirus continue to rise across the UK, Martin Lewis has offered his latest advice around mortgages, sick pay and holidays.

Coronavirus in the UK is causing a lot of worry and anxiety for people, including those concerned about money around this time.

Some people are concerned about their holidays being cancelled and their money being refunded, while other are worried about sick pay and having to stay home to care for their children if schools are closed.

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Appearing on This Morning on Monday, Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis offered some needed advice to viewers from sick pay to cancelled flights and mortgages:

Martin Lewis said that people's questions will be answered, but we need to be a little patient
Martin Lewis said that people's questions will be answered, but we need to be a little patient. Picture: ITV

Mortgages

With coronavirus forcing some people in the UK to self-isolate, the public are concerned about their mortgage payments and if they'll be able to keep up with them, to which Martin explained there are a lot of mortgage providers showing forbearance at the moment.

He explained: "Now that may mean reducing your payment, delaying your payment or increasing the term of your mortgage – which effectively reduces your mortgage."

He added that some people could have their credit card limits increased while others could be able to take money out of a their fixed rate savings accounts.

"We have this forbearance starting to be shown from banks and financial institutions," Martin explained, encouraging people that are worried about money to talk to their banks and be "honest and open".

He added that the effect these steps could have on your credit score are still unknown, although they are digging to find out more.

Martin told Holly and Phil: "Many mortgage providers understand the situation, and if you can't work due to coronavirus, and that is causing you problems the first thing would be to discuss it, be honest and open, and hopefully they will make the terms easier, but it is case-by-case."

Sick Pay

While school closures aren't happening at the moment, some parents are worried that this is something the UK is heading towards.

For people that can't get or afford child care, this could mean they are missing out on work and therefore pay to care for their kids.

At the moment, Martin Lewis said that he has put a call into the Department of Work and Pensions for a clearer answer on this.

Martin said on This Morning: "My current reading at the moment, is that you're not entitled to sick pay because you are not ill."

However, he added that some firms are giving their staff pay for having to care for their children, but this is on a firm-by-firm basis.

"It is not a legal issue at the moment, and I haven't heard of specific support in place if you get to the situation where kids are off school and parents have to be home to look after them", he added.

Martin also said that the answers to this, as well as other questions people have will become clear, but that we "all need to be patient."

Martin Lewis appeared on This Morning to offer advice to the public
Martin Lewis appeared on This Morning to offer advice to the public. Picture: ITV

Travel

With flight cancellations and travel bans taking over, many people are having their holidays cancelled, and therefore concerned about getting their money back.

Martin has said that with most travel insurers, if the Foreign Office has advised you against travelling, you should be able to claim your money back on the travel insurance policy.

For those people who have not had their flights or hotels cancelled, but don't want to travel because of the outbreak, Martin advised: "First thing you can do is speak to your travel insurer and I'd say to them 'look, I've been told not to go I assume you'll be covering it and I'll get the money back'.

"They should do, but if they don't, what I would be tempted to do in that case is make a formal complaint and then take them on to the Financial Ombudsman.

"I would argue we have got to the point where the standard industry practice that the FCO not advising you to travel over coronavirus is a payout, but I can't say that would work, that's just to tactic I would use."

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