Tackling the Credit Crunch
Bedford Borough Council is working to support local residents
and businesses through the difficult economic climate. To help
tackle the ‘credit crunch’ we’ve brought together a range of
information for residents, homeowners and local businesses. As well
as online information we are organising public meetings where you
can speak to council staff and find out what we can do to
Tips for coping during the recession
1. Don't panic and bury your
head in the sand
No matter how
desperate things seem, there are ways to manage your debts.
Ignoring your debt problems will only make them worse. Don't ignore
calls or letters from the people you owe money to (your creditors).
Contact them to explain why you're having problems. The sooner you
do this, the more options you'll have for solving your financial
2. Pay your priority debts
There are some debts you need
to pay first before others, because the consequences of not paying
them can be much more serious. For example, mortgage or rent debts
are a priority as if you don't pay these you could lose your
3. Work out your monthly
Work out how much money
you've got coming in and going out of your household on essential
expenses like food and bills.
4. Make savings on your
at your spending and see if there is anything you are able to cut
down on. For example, you could shop around for a cheaper gas or
electricity provider, look at cheaper mortgage or insurance
providers or browse through money saving websites such as http://www.vouchercodes.co.uk/,
5. Maximise your income
getting all the money you're entitled to? There may be benefits
available and you don't necessarily have to be out of work to claim
them. Anything from home insulation to reducing your fuel bills, to
council tax rebates, Tax Credits, or support with school meals may
be open to you.
6. Think twice about taking
out a loan to pay off all your
It might seem an easy opt
out, but you may end up paying back a lot more than you borrowed
and at very high interest rates. You may not be able to afford the
repayments and the loan may be secured against your home, which you
could then lose.
Businesses are feeling the
effects of the economic downturn more than most, and you can help
support them by goods locally
Our focus is
to prevent homelessness occurring through a range of initiatives as
well as tackling the wider causes of homelessness through
strengthening partnerships with other agencies and sharing needs
data. The initiatives that we have brought in show that early
preventative work can make a difference to people facing the threat
If you feel your home maybe in danger of repossession we can help
- The Council’s court desk
is funded jointly by the Department for Communities and
Local Government and the Council. Advisors from Citizen
Advice Bureau are on hand on repossession hearing days at the
County Court to provide advice which could prevent you being
evicted from your home. It is always better to get advice
from the Council's Housing Options Service as early as possible
before going to Court as there is more time to arrange
- An independent housing advice service is
provided by Bedford Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) and supported by
Bedford Borough Council. This creates an essential link
between CAB's money advice service and the court desk.
- Mortgage Rescue Scheme.
This scheme was launched in January 2009 in partnership with
Bedford Pilgrims Housing Association (BPHA) and could provide a
solution where you may become homeless, all other solutions have
been explored and you meet the criteria for the scheme. If
you are struggling to meet your mortgage payments you should
firstly contact your lender to discuss other repayment
options. The leaflet below provides guidance and details of
organisations that may be able to assist you.
Further information about what you can do if
your house is threatened with repossession can be found in the
leaflet below, by
visiting our housing advice webpage or by calling us
direct on (01234) 718058
Mortgage Advice Leaflet
If you have lost your job
or are on a low income we can offer advice about benefits that you
maybe entitled to claim.
Bedford Borough Council Benefits & Community Welfare section
administer the Housing & Council Benefit Scheme. These are
means tested benefits available to people on a low income with
their rent and/or Council Tax.
If you already getting a means tested benefit such as Income
Support, Income based Employment Support Allowance, Income based
Jobseeker's Allowance or Pension Credit you should be entitled to
some assistance. Contact us to see if we can help!
See our web pages
for more details of the Housing & Council Tax Benefit
We also offer a drop in service at the Town Hall from
Monday - Thursday 8.45 a.m. to 5.00 p.m.
Friday 8.45 a.m. to 4.45 p.m.
Saturday 9.00 a.m. to 1.00 p.m.
We can advise on the process, your eligibility and help with forms,
alternatively you can ring on 01234 718097 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that any award of Housing & Council Benefit is
based on the income coming into the household, and that savings are
also considered. If you have over £16,000 in savings you cannot get
Other useful contact details are:
Job Centre Plus (JCP):
For Job Seekers Allowance, Employment Support Allowance &
Her Majesty’s Revenues & Customs (HMRC):
For Tax Credits; 0845 3003 900
For Child Benefit; 0845 302 1444
For Pension Credit & State Retirement Pension; 0845 6060
Bedford Borough Council:
For Housing & Council Tax Benefit; 01234 718097
There may be other benefits you may be entitled to if you are sick
or disabled – you can find out about these on the Benefit Enquiry
Line on 0800 882 200
Economic Development Unit of the Borough Council is fully committed
to helping support businesses through the current economic
downturn, and has launched a package of schemes and measures to
minimise the impact for small businesses that are most affected.
The key measures are outlined below:
- Hardship rate relief scheme
Businesses that are experiencing financial hardship can apply for a
partial reduction in their business rates, subject to eligibility
- Small business rate relief scheme
Small businesses with a rateable value of less than £15,000 pa can
apply for relief from a portion of the business rates levy due.
Availability of flexible lease terms on all Council owned
Various flexible packages are available.
If you own a small business in Bedford and
would like to find out more about the support that is available
please contact the Economic Development Team on 01234