Coronavirus update 21 March 2020(second)

Some suggestions that might help in these financially difficult times –

• Switch the bills!  Check if you can get a cheaper provider for your phone, utilities, TV, insurance.  Do those jobs you haven’t had time to do.
• Call your bank or mortgage supplier and get that 3 month payment holiday.
• Investigate and apply for everything you’re entitled to.  Some useful phone numbers at the end of the newsflash.
• Prioritise your bills.  Council Tax should always be top of the list after your mortgage (though hopefully you’ve got your mortgage holiday sorted), then utilities.  (Thankfully the warmer weather should be on its way so we may need less heating!)
• Can you think of other ways to get an income?  All the supermarkets are recruiting delivery drivers and shelf stackers.  Might keep you going through the hard times.  If you apply for delivery driving remember to tell them they couldn’t get a better driver!  Do some online courses for your students maybe?  What about having a clear out of all the stuff you don’t want/need and selling them on eBay, Gumtree or Facebook?  Could you make things and sell them?  I understand some websites pay people to test their sites.
• Look at your food spending, can you get it cheaper elsewhere.  Are there luxuries  you could do without?  Toiletries?  Buy own brand instead of labels?
• If debt is a problem seek early advice.  There’s Community Money Advice, Citizens Advice, National Debt Line, Christians Against Poverty, Step Change and there may be some local to you.
• If you had planned a holiday or wedding, check your insurance to see what you’re covered for.
• Sign up to receive regular newsletters from Martin Lewis on moneysavingexpert.com.  Always lots of money saving ideas and information on which banks to use etc.

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Here are some FAQs from the DVSA which you may find helpful –

Q. What’s happening?
DVSA has put contingency plans in place to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 so we can continue to provide essential services to critical workers.
We have taken the decision to suspend driver and rider testing for all but critical workers for up to 3 months from 21 March.

Q. Which tests are being cancelled?
We are suspending driving tests for up to 3 months from 21 March as there is extended contact between candidates and examiners in vehicles. Motorcycle tests are also being suspended.
We have put in place plans to provide tests for critical workers.
Critical workers who need a test can email us to confirm why they need an emergency test – covid19essentialworkersdrivingtest@dvsa.gov.ukand we will make arrangements for them.

Q. Why have you done this?
We have put contingency plans in place to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 so we can continue to provide services to critical workers.
We have taken the decision to suspend driver testing for all but critical workers for up to 3 months from 21 March.

Q. Are you informing candidates directly about the suspensions?
We will contact all affected candidates directly to inform them of the suspensions. We’ll also let them know that their test will be rebooked automatically at the nearest available time.
Candidates are urged not to call our customer contact centre to rebook, as they will not be able to assist. Suspended tests will be rebooked automatically free of charge and candidates will be informed – there is no need for them to do anything else.
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Q. How quickly will people hear from you?
We will be letting all candidates know about the suspension of testing immediately.

Q. Have you stopped all testing? What about the need for extra health workers, emergency services and food delivery drivers?
Our priority is to keep the country moving during this challenging period.
As such, we will continue to provide testing for critical workers if they need an urgent test to be able to work. Critical workers will be identified in line with the recently published government guidance.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision

Q. When will tests resume?
We will keep our services under continual review. We have taken the decision to suspend driver and rider testing for all but critical workers for up to 3 months from 21 March.

Q. Will candidates receive compensation for a cancelled test?
Candidates whose tests have been suspended at less than 3 days’ notice can claim out-of-pocket expenses. Candidates can find out how to do this at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/application-for-refunding-out-of-pocket-expenses

Q. Will priority be given to those who were set to take their test before others who have been suspended?
Yes. We will automatically rebook tests in the order they are suspended.

Q. What will be the first date available for rebooking?
We will keep our services under continual review. We have taken the decision to suspend driver and rider testing for all but critical workers for up to 3 months from 21 March.

Q. How many people will be affected?
Up to 408,000 people may be affected.

Q. What if my theory test runs out during this time and I can’t take a driving test because DVSA is not testing?
Unfortunately once the theory test certificate has expired, legally we are unable to extend these and candidates will need to pass another test. Candidates have up to 2 years from passing their theory test to take their practical test.

Q. What advice are you giving to driving instructors (ADIs)?
We have informed instructors of the decision to suspend tests.
Instructors should refer to NHS guidance on COVID-19 and act accordingly.

Q. Should ADIs continue to offer driving lessons?
Driving instructors should follow the latest Government advice on COVID-19.

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We had the following, which is very relevant to us – The Assistant Director of Nursing at QE (Birmingham) has said they’ve had a message today that the virus seems to be spreading quickly via petrol pumps so they advise to wear gloves when filling up or use a paper towel and bin straight away.

One member has emailed this afternoon to say that she’s written to her MP and had an immediate response to say he was working on it, and saw the PM last night.  Have to say I haven’t even had an acknowledgement from mine!  But please send yours in, it all adds to the pressure.  I should mention that you need to include your full name and address.  There’s a rule that they can only deal with their own constituents.  Our Chair has also written to the Prime Minister and Alok Sharma Secretary of State for Business today and NASP will be sending a co-ordinated letter representing 30,000 ADIs asking for more help for the self-employed.

We will make every effort to support you through this.  We will answer your queries, or find out if we don’t know, we’ll take your phone calls and chat or just listen.  But may I remind you that we are all working ADIs, volunteers, not staff.  We too need time to do our own things and also need our sleep.  Several of us have been putting in a lot of hours this week, and one of us had a call at 12.30am…  Please be nice.  Stay safe.

The NJC continues to be dedicated to help you in these challenging times and we hope you and your loved ones stay safe and healthy.  Please feel free to contact us for help and support.

HMRC Helpline:  0800 0159 559
Citizens Advice Bureau – https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/health/coronavirus-what-it-means-for-you/

You can sign up to receive Government updates on Coronavirus relating to driving tests here.

ADINJC’s helpline is 0800 8202 444

The Secretary’s number is 07855 453414

You can find the latest NASP guidelines on Coronavirus here.

 

The ADINJC is a national association run by ADIs on a not-for-profit basis.  We work tirelessly to inform, represent and support our members, and to promote the interests of our profession.