UK is on the verge of a double-dip recession, economists predict – how to protect your finances

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THE UK is heading towards a double-dip recession according to economic experts.

The resurgence of coronavirus and the closing of borders along with Brexit in January has led economists to predict another recession in 2021.

The new coronavirus lockdown is expected to hit the economy

The country plunged into the “worst ever” recession earlier this year, when the economy shrank for two quarters in a row – the technical definition of recession.

The economy bounced back and grew by 15.5% in the three months to September, meaning the UK is no longer in recession.

But a combination of factors means economists now think the economy will shrink again at the start of next year.

It’s called a double-dip recession when the economy enters recession, briefly recovers, and then enters recession again.

The rising cases of a new “mutant” coronavirus has lead to tighter Tier 4 restrictions which have closed many shops during the busiest shopping time of the year.

Travel bans have been imposed by several countries halting freight transport on one of the busiest trade routes, which threatens the delivery of goods to the UK, including some food.

More areas of the UK are expected to be put in Tier 4 while in January the UK will officially leave the EU and there is no deal on trade agreed with the EU yet.

Before the weekend when the new restrictions were introduced, the economy was expected to grow in the first quarter of 2021.

Dan Hanson of Bloomberg Economics said: “The first quarter will depend on how quickly any restrictions are eased.

“We’re skeptical about whether the government will be willing to relax the measures significantly making it highly likely the UK economy will contract again.”

Philip Rush, chief economist a research company Heteronomics, told Bloomberg “It’s a double-dip recession” with the new lockdown rules “likely to extend into the first couple of months of the year”.

Others predict that the impact will be less severe however.

Economists at Berenberg have changed their original forecast that the UK economy will grow 5.5% in the first quarter of 2021, and still believe it will grow by 3%.

And Sanjay Raja, an economist at Deutsche Bank, told Bloomberg: “We don’t expect a double dip recession, at least not at this stage.

“But the probability of one is definitely on the rise.”

How can a recession affect your finances?

During a recession there is a rise in unemployment.

Redundancies have hit new record highs with 370,000 workers losing their jobs in the three months to October due to the coronavirus crisis and 1.7million now unemployed.

Employees may also find it harder to get promotions or pay rises.

While those graduating from university or leaving school may find it harder to get a first job.

You may find it harder to get credit, and banks have already started cutting deals on the top credit cards.

Some banks have also turned down furloughed workers for mortgages and lenders have pulled some mortgage products from the market, especially for first-time buyers.

It is expected that we will see a rise in personal insolvencies and home repossessions too. Although the FCA has extended a ban on the repossession of homes until the end of January 2021.

How can you recession-proof your finances?

If you’re worried about the recession hitting your finances then we explain how to protect yourself.

CHECK YOUR FINANCES

 Take a look at where you can cut costs. Are there any subscriptions you could cancel? Could you haggle down a bill?

Reassess your finances and work out where to save cash and then save this money into a rainy day fund.

PAY OFF YOUR DEBTS 

Make sure you’re repaying priority debts and if you’re struggling speak to your lender.

Use a tool such as MoneySavingExpert.com’s eligibility checkers to check which cards and loans you’re likely to be accepted for without it hurting your credit score.

You can get FREE debt advice from places like Citizens Advice and StepChange.

DIVERSIFY YOUR PENSIONS AND INVESTMENTS 

If you’ve got a pension or investments make sure your pots are well diversified.

Being overexposed to one asset class or one particular company could put your savings at risk if something goes wrong.

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