Unemployment in the UK rose by 128,000 in the three months to October reaching 2.64 million. This the highest figure since 1994.The Office for National Statistics (ONS) released this on 14 December 2011 and confirmed the jobless rate was up from 7.9% for the previous quarter and had risen to 8.3%. Employees are beginning to wonder if their employer will be the next one to cut back their workforce and what they could do to protect themselves and their loved ones.
With the Euro Zone crisis still ongoing and now (even) talk of an economic slow down in China, the cold hand of uncertainly is reaching across the global economy. Consequently few firms in the UK are investing in new staff and extra capacity. They have every reason to expect demand to remain flat, if not fall back dramatically in the event of the Euro troubles triggering a serious double dip recession. Headline job losses in both the retail sector and travel are feeding the UK's increasing jobless total. British consumers, squeezed by inflation hitting the essentials and paying higher taxes, are cutting back their spending. The high street is being hit hard.
With no improvement in the prospects for private industry and the accelerating job losses in the Public Sector, the numbers being made redundant can only increase. Most certainly the time taken for people to secure alternative work following redundancy will lengthen as ever more people chase fewer jobs.
For anyone who does not have much saved and loses their job, surviving for a long period with no wages coming in is very hard indeed. Furthermore, repossessions are now rising according to the Council of Mortgage Lenders. Many more people will find their homes at risk as lender patience runs out. Therefore, it has never been more important for individuals to have money to fall back for paying their critical bills if they are out of work. For families especially, if the 'bread winner' is made redundant and they have little saved, they will need urgent financial help to keep a roof over their heads.
It is the risk of redundancy to people currently in steady work and the need to keep money flowing into their households that Income Protection Insurance is designed to cover. This product is also called Lifestyle Protection Insurance by a major Building Society and other specialist providers. This type of financial protection Insurance will pay out for up to a year (some cover 2 years) if the policyholder is unable to work due to accident, sickness or unemployment.
The buyer chooses the monthly benefit they want to be paid. It is usually restricted to between 50 percent and 70 percent of their gross pay (that is pay before any deductions for Income Tax or National Insurance). Therefore, for most people, it may not offer them as much money each month as when they are at work, however it is enough to pay their bills and make even limited savings stretch much further. Buyers of these products usually select a monthly benefit of around £1,000 as they will also qualify for State Benefits or perhaps have a partner who can share the financial burden during their search for another job.
It should also be remembered that this cover pays out the same monthly benefit if the policyholder is unable to work for medical reasons. Some people can suffer badly in terms of their mental health following redundancy, searching for another job for months and receiving repeated rejections can trigger clinical depression. Therefore, in addition to cover for unemployment, the sickness part of this short-term Income Protection Insurance can be a financial lifesaver as well.
There are a huge number of UK families who are financially vulnerable, with budgets stretched to the limit each month. For them, saving a meaningful amount to cushion the blow of unemployment is simply impossible. However, they might be able to find the equivalent of £5 to £10 a week to pay for an Income Protection Insurance policy. Otherwise they would be extremely vulnerable to a break in their employment that lasts more than a month or two. Compared to the cost of resorting to pay day loans or the financial penalties of restructuring debts, short-term Income Protection Insurance offers a very cheap alternative.
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