Residents can apply for a £500 payment that is part grant of £50 and part loan of £450 that is interest free in a new Bradford Council funded initiative.
Through the Bradford and District Credit Union, Bradford Council is providing financial support to the district’s workers struggling because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The coronavirus outbreak is a challenging time for everyone with a significant impact on much of the workforce.
To help, the government introduced the ‘Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’ for employed staff and the ’Self-Employment Income Support Scheme’ for the self-employed, providing furloughed and self-employed workers 80 per cent of their wages up to £2,500 a month.
While the scheme has been extended until October, the amount of wages covered is reducing resulting in many workers experiencing a gap in income or facing redundancy
To help cover the shortfall, Bradford Council is working in partnership with Bradford District Credit Union (BDCU) to launch the new ‘Covid Loan & Save Account’.
Workers who are on furlough, part of the ’Self-Employment Income Support Scheme’ or have lost their job due to the pandemic can apply for a £500 payment that is part grant of £50 and part loan of £450 that is interest free.
The loan is paid back when either back in work or successfully receiving benefits. There is no credit search made for the loan which is designed to be affordable and also help to kick-start their savings habit with the Credit Union.
Bradford Council Leader Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe said “We know people are struggling so we are happy to support this new scheme which will provide a short-term grant and bridging loan to help financially squeezed residents.
“The scheme has the key aims of increasing financial awareness and skills, reducing indebtedness, and improving financial and health wellbeing by saving with the Credit Union.
“We want people to stay away from borrowing on high-interest credit or even from loan sharks who prey on victims who are in financial trouble.”
Partners in the scheme include Citizens Advice, Incommunities and the charity Community Action Bradford and District, who will all make referrals to the scheme.
Qualifying workers can also apply direct through the application form on the Credit Union website.
The scheme is administered by the Bradford District Credit Union which was set up by Bradford Council in 1993. It now has 7,500 members who all save together. Members can also apply for affordable loans and were recently nominated for the national Consumer Credit Awards.
CEO Andrew Bowker said: “This unique support by Bradford Council is a progressive way of helping workers back on their feet. This new scheme is very similar to our popular Family Loan where struggling families can apply for a £500 affordable loan with no credit checks when paying in their Child Benefit to their Credit Union savings account.’
BDCU has also been recognised by the international CUInsight journal as a ‘Best Practice’ model of a financial organisation working in partnership with local organisations to drive innovative community development to help residents develop a healthy savings habit that few can achieve on their own.
The ‘Covid Loan & Save Account’ has a limited number of loans available and as people pay back their loans, BDCU will then offer it out to help even more struggling workers.