Increasing number of Czechs face financial problems following Covid-19 crisisAug 17, 2020
Radio Prague International: As the government’s temporary measures adopted to limit the negative impacts of the coronavirus crisis draw to a close, an increasing number of Czechs are starting to face serious financial difficulties. Indeed, debt advisory centres around the country are reporting a surge in the number of clients seeking their advice.
Following the coronavirus lockdown, the Czech government in April approved a set of protective measures to help individuals as well as businesses cope with the sudden loss of income.
The measures included the deferral of loan payments, such as mortgages, for the duration of three or six months and prevented the termination of leases on grounds of unpaid rent for the period until the end of June. The state also temporarily halted the seizure of debtors’ property.
With some such measures already having come to a close, debt advisory centres are reporting a surge in the number of clients. David Šmejkal is the head of the debt advice centre Poradna při finančí tísni.
“In recent weeks, we have seen an increase in clients who already had problems prior to the coronavirus crisis but, thanks to the government measures, didn’t have to deal with them until now."
“The debtors have found themselves in this sort of protective pillow, didn’t have to worry about the enforcement of debts or distraint orders. But as these measures gradually draw to a close, the pressure on debtors whose instalments have been delayed is increasing.”
While in the first month of the coronavirus crisis people were mostly inquiring about nursing care leave and social benefits, now they are mainly asking for advice concerning debts, distraint orders or loss of employment.
Daniel Hůle is the head of People in Need’s debt advisory centre:
“We have been registering an increase in the number of clients who have lost their jobs. Our clients are often people with limited education, whose position on the job market is more difficult. They usually don’t have long-term employment contracts. We have also seen an increase of clients who are dealing with property seizures.”