Council tax deferral: How to defer council tax payments

The Government’s £500million hardship fund, announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in the Budget last month, will provide council tax relief to households strapped for cash from the impact of coronavirus. Councils will receive the funding and will provide support where they see fit. But who is eligible, and how do you apply for council tax support?

Who is eligible for council tax support?

All Brits of working age who receive council tax support are eligible to benefit from the hardship fund.

Council tax support, or council tax reduction, is a benefit to help those on low income or on a few different types of benefits to pay their council tax bill.

The amount of support will vary between different areas of the country, since each local council is responsible for deciding how to operate the scheme in their area.

READ MORE- Council tax: Do we have to pay council tax this month?

READ MORE

  • Council tax and coronavirus: Can you get money off your council tax?

How much support will I receive?

The amount of support you will receive depends on the following:

  • Where you live – each council runs its own scheme
  • Your circumstances (eg income, number of children, benefits, residency status)
  • Your household income – this includes savings, pensions and your Partner’s income
  • If your children live with you
  • If other adults live with you

You may get more Council Tax Support if you receive a disability or carers benefit.

Those who receive the Guarantee Credit Part of Pension Credit may get their council tax paid in full.

If you don’t get this, but have a low income and less than £16,000 in savings, you may still be eligible for some help.

Pensioners who live alone may get a discounted bill or may receive council tax support.

DON’T MISS
BBC TV licence: Annual fee could be incorporated into household bills [INFORMER]
Universal Credit claim: Payment amount is changing next week [INFORMER]
Shock figure: 10 million Americans are unemployed amid coronavirus [INSIGHT]

READ MORE

  • Coronavirus: Chancellor boosts loan scheme to aid more small firms

How do I apply for council tax support?

If you aren’t already receiving council tax support, you can apply here.

All you need to do is pop in your postcode and you should be redirected to your council’s website.

This website should give you all the information you need to know.

If you are still unsure, the website will give you all the relevant contact information to speak to someone who can help.

If you are already receiving council tax support, your revised bill will come through in the next few weeks.

If it is not reduced, you should contact your council to check whether you are eligible for support or not.

If your bill is normally £150 or less, you may not have to pay council tax at all.

If it is more, it should be reduced significantly if you are eligible.

Source: Read Full Article

ViacomCBS Closes Purchase Of Stake In Miramax, With Distribution And First Look Deals

ViacomCBS  said Friday it’s closed on the acquistion of a 49% stake in Miramax from owner beIN Media Group, whih will retain 51% in the company. The current Miramax leadership team will continue in their existing roles.

ViacomCBS said that $150 million of the $375 million pricetag was paid at closing and it’s committed to invest $225 million – comprised of $45 million annually over the next five years – to be used for new film and television productions and working capital.

Paramount Pictures also entered into an exclusive, long-term distribution agreement for Miramax’s film library and an exclusive, long-term first-look agreement allowing Paramount Pictures to develop, produce, finance and distribute new film and television projects based on Miramax IP.

Qatar-based entertainment company beIn Media Group bought Miramax – originally launched in 1979 by Bob ad Harvey Weinstein – in 2016 from shareholders Qatar Investment Authority and Colony Capital.

The Miramax library contains more than 700 titles including Best Picture Oscar winners The English PatientChicagoShakespeare in Love and No Country for Old Men.

“This represents a major investment in and endorsement of our thriving Miramax business, which has grown in value under beIN Media Group’s ownership and has a fantastic future ahead with major new movies and unexploited premium dramas. We are thrilled to partner with ViacomCBS and Paramount to explore further opportunities around Miramax’s iconic IP, and also at group level,” said beIn Media chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi. The partership with the U.S. media conglom, “substantially increases the scale of our entertainment business [and] further underlines beIN’s ambitions on the global stage.”

Source: Read Full Article

As coronavirus spreads, suppliers are rationing face masks

New York (CNN Business)3M, the world’s largest maker of respirator masks, said Friday it is willing to comply with President Trump’s order to manufacture and supply more critically needed N95 masks for the United States. But 3M cautioned about being forced to halt exports of those masks to other parts of the world.

A day after Trump invoked the Defense Production Act (DPA) to order 3M to significantly ramp up production of N95 respirators, 3M said in a statement that “3M and its employees have gone above and beyond to manufacture as many N95 respirators as possible for the US market.”

3M is the world's largest maker of N95 respirator masks.
The DPA also requires 3M to prioritize its respirator orders from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The company said it was already working closely with the administration to supply more masks to FEMA while increasing its mask imports into the United States from its global manufacturing facilities, including from China.

    3M, however, took issue with the administration’s additional request that 3M (MMM)cease exporting made-in-the-USA respirators to Canada and to Latin America.
    “There are significant humanitarian implications of ceasing respirator supplies to healthcare workers in Canada and Latin America, where we are a critical supplier of respirators,” the statement said, adding that such a move would “likely cause other countries to retaliate and do the same.”

      3M warned the end result could lead to the net number of respirators being made available to the United States to decrease.
      “That is the opposite of what we and the administration, on behalf of the American people, both seek,” the company said.
      Source: Read Full Article

      Varney: Pelosi's coronavirus oversight is 'politics at its worst'

      Varney: Does Pelosi really have to conduct a probe as the nation struggles with coronavirus?

      FOX Business’ Stuart Varney on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi establishing a committee to investigate President Trump’s coronavirus spending.

      Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.

      Continue Reading Below

      FOX Business’ Stuart Varney, in his latest “My Take,” argues Speaker Nancy Pelosi is focused on politics when she should be working to fight coronavirus.

      Varney said Pelosi plans to establish a select committee on the coronavirus crisis, which will monitor where relief money goes.

      "It will be an all-purpose investigation designed to make corporations, banks, and the president look bad — right before the election," Varney said.

      VARNEY: CORONAVIRUS CONCERNS DEMAND GOVERNMENT TRANSPARENCY

      House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., walks to her office after signing the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

      Varney said even though we’ve been through investigation before, the criticism will reach “a new level” amid coronavirus disaster.

      “There’s nothing wrong with accountability,” Varney said. “When you’re throwing around over $2 trillion, we ought to know who gets what and why. But does the speaker have to conduct a probe at precisely the time that the nation is fighting a uniquely destructive challenge?"

      Varney predicted, among all this, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Rep. Gerry Nadler, D-N.Y., will be called on to "pour out their anger at the president.”

      VARNEY: CORONAVIRUS TURNING LAWMAKERS INTO ‘BIG SPENDERS’

      President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus at the White House, April 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

      Upon investigation, Varney said, banks will be called “vultures and thieves” and drug companies will be called “profiteers,” all while lawyers will "pin liability on anyone with deep pockets, so they can grab 30 percent of 'the take.'"

      GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE GO BY CLICKING HERE

      Varney said Pelosi will continue to use her "last available option," an option she's used before: "investigate, investigate, investigate."

      "It is divisive, it is politics at its worst and it is desperation," he said. "At all costs, slime the president. Right before the election."

      CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ON FOX BUSINESS

      Source: Read Full Article

      Mortgage holiday warning: ‘Do not assume’ Vital expert advice to homeowners amid COVID-19

      The economy has taken a huge hit from the coronavirus pandemic grinding businesses to a halt. The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has offered vital measures to keep the public afloat but Britons must not expect these to be put in place automatically. Finance expert Sean Farrington explained to the BBC that the public must contact their banks in order to see what applies to them personally.

      Speaking to BBC’s Newscast, Mr Farrinton said: “If you’ve got a mortgage, most bankers will lend you payment holiday on your mortgage.

      “Similar with loans you might have with banks already.

      “Credit cards, not so much payment holidays but a lot of places are waiving fees and offering credit extensions.

      “If you need to get through the next few months and you have to find some money from somewhere that’s one way.”

      He continued: “All these things, you have to speak to your bank.

      “Don’t just assume because you’ve read it somewhere.

      “Speak to your bank. Lots are offering interest-free buffers, somewhere are waiving it as well.

      “Those are ways of getting loans but if you’re after something new that’s pretty hard at the minute because the Government’s not really said anything about that.”

      It comes as more than one in five millennials who had been saving for their first home are diverting the money towards coping financially day-to-day, a survey has found.

      Some 22 percent of 26 to 40-year-olds who had been hoping to get on the property ladder will be dipping into their savings instead, according to the research from credit checking company TransUnion.

      The housing market is grinding to a near halt as people put off their moving plans. Lenders are giving extensions on mortgage offers, to enable those who had been on the brink of moving to do so at a later date.

      Some lenders have also been temporarily restricting the range of mortgages they are offering to new borrowers, particularly affecting those with lower deposits – such as first-time buyers.

      DON’T MISS

      Pope health fears: Coronavirus outbreak erupts in Vatican [INSIGHT]
      Corbyn’s warning to Starmer: Next Labour chief MUST attack Boris [INSIGHT]
      Debenhams ‘set to put administrators on standby to protect business’ [INSIGHT]

      The survey of more than 1,000 people – carried out on March 23 and 24 – looked at the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

      It also found that more than a third (35 percent) of 26 to 40-year-olds are preparing to tap into savings and 22 percent are borrowing money from a friend or family member.

      More than seven in 10 (72 percent) in this age group said the coronavirus pandemic had already affected them in some way financially.

      This was a higher proportion than older age groups, but lower than Generation Z adults aged 18 to 25, with 78 percent in this group saying their finances had been hit.

      Source: Read Full Article

      Kudlow: US economic recovery may start in 4-8 weeks

      Kudlow: Coronavirus has US suffering through ‘very painful’ economic contraction

      National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow discusses a possible timeline for recovery from the pandemic shutdown.

      Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox.  Sign up here.

      Continue Reading Below

      The U.S. economy is suffering through a painful period, but the damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will be temporary, stressed top Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow.

      “We are suffering through a very painful, very difficult economic contraction,” Kudlow, head of the National Economic Council, told FOX Business’ Stuart Varney on Friday. “That's the way I look at it. It's going to be temporary, but it's going to be very difficult.”

      While Kudlow doesn’t see the situation improving immediately, he says conditions may get better in the next four to eight weeks.

      CORONAVIRUS DOESN'T KEEP TESLA FROM RECORD DELIVERIES

      COVID-19 has infected 245,646 people and killed 6,069 in the U.S., according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University & Medicine. The pandemic has prompted states to issue "stay-at-home" orders and led to the temporary closing of non-essential businesses, putting millions of Americans out of work.

      The U.S. economy shed 701,000 nonfarm jobs in the month of March as the unemployment rate jumped to 4.4 percent, data released Friday morning by the Labor Department showed. The numbers don't include the roughly 10 million workers who have filed for unemployment over the past two weeks.

      CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ON FOX BUSINESS

      Last week, Congress passed a $2 trillion rescue package aimed at extending aid to the individuals and businesses most severely impacted by the pandemic-related shutdown. Lawmakers have also approved measures that would extend up to $1,200 cash to most Americans and expand unemployment benefits.

      Friday's dismal report ended a streak of monthly job growth that had been in place since September 2010. Last month, the U.S. economy added 273,000 jobs as the unemployment rate dipped to a half-century low of 3.5 percent.

      "This is not going to last throughout the year," Kudlow said. "We will see a very strong economic recovery when this has played itself out."

      Source: Read Full Article

      Red America Is Becoming a 'Democracy Desert.' Coronavirus Threatens to Make It Worse

      The coronavirus emergency threatens to become a constitutional crisis. Several states have rescheduled primaries and other elections, amid warnings that we must act quickly to enact a national vote by mail system in case the pandemic continues toward November’s presidential election.

      It’s an urgent moment. But the problems within our system have also been exacerbated by a patchwork of state-by-state election laws that create wildly disparate access to the ballot box and to voter registration. Just as dangerously, many leaders and state governments have politicized voting rights in such a way that may make it more difficult for leaders to quickly resolve important issues around this fall’s election in a nonpartisan manner.

      We will need to act resolutely to ensure a fair and free vote, after a decade of toxic partisan gerrymandering, “surgically targeted” voter-ID bills, and disingenuous commissions investigating nonexistent “voter fraud.” But this conversation will be held against the backdrop of a political map that is not only filled with red and blue, but covered with “democracy deserts” — entire swaths of the nation where voting rights fail to grow.

      In blue Vermont, a new emergency law allows the governor and secretary of state to send every registered voter an absentee ballot this fall. In red Arizona, that same measure failed in March. Meanwhile, Wisconsin Republicans have fought efforts to send mail-in ballots to every registered voter ahead of next week’s election there, likely looking to drive down turnout in a crucial state supreme-court election. Georgia’s Republican house speaker screamed that quiet part aloud, as well, criticizing a decision by the secretary of state simply to send voters absentee-ballot applications: “This will certainly drive up turnout,” said Rep. David Ralston, and “will be extremely devastating to Republicans and conservatives in Georgia.”

      Unfortunately, Congress has already begun playing politics with the vote. Voting-rights groups asked for $4 billion toward these efforts — the equivalent of pennies for democracy in a bailout plan that could run toward $6 trillion, once action by Congress and the Federal Reserve is totaled. The stimulus package hammered out last week by Senate negotiators, however, includes only $400 million, a woefully inadequate first step that will do little to guarantee every voter, in every state, can vote this fall without risking their health.

      In an interview on Fox and Friends earlier this week, President Trump derided the vote-by-mail efforts as “crazy,” saying they would lead to “levels of voting that, if you ever agreed to it, you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”

      Indeed, the foundational notion of one person, one vote depends largely on where you live. One nation, indivisible, increasingly looks like two when it comes to voting rights: One inclusive, the other exclusive; one that works to make voting easier, and the other redoubling efforts to discourage it. Can we meet the current challenge to ramp up vote-by-mail and expand online registration when the two parties have such foundational differences on electoral reform? Are both parties equally committed to a safe and fair election this fall? Looking at their actions, it’s hard to say that the answer is yes.

      When rural or urban neighborhoods lack access to a grocery store with fresh vegetables, they’re called “supermarket deserts.” Voting rights resemble something similar: More than 59 million of us live in a state so gerrymandered that one or both chambers of the state legislature is controlled by the party that won fewer votes statewide in 2018. Access to vote has been limited or curtailed. Entrenched legislators then feel so untouchable that they’re willing to overrule ballot initiatives and undermine judicial rulings.

      Many states across the South and Midwest have introduced dramatic new barriers between citizens and their right to vote. The process accelerated in 2013, when the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision in Shelby County vs. Holder, gutted key enforcement mechanisms in the Voting Rights Act that had required many of these states to “pre-clear” any voting changes through the Department of Justice.

      Freed from any federal oversight, these states rushed to make it more difficult for individuals to register, harder for organizations to conduct registration drives, aggressively purged voting rolls, shuttered precincts, placed seemingly targeted barriers before college students, and demanded specific forms of ID before casting a ballot.

      Meanwhile, largely along coastal America, the story is different. State legislatures have enacted new protections of voting rights, expanded absentee and early voting, modernized election machinery to ensure confidence in the results, and launched new automatic voter-registration efforts that have greatly expanded turnout.

      If forward-looking states have become innovative laboratories of democracy, others more closely resemble meth labs. In 2019, Tennessee passed legislation that threatens nonprofits with criminal penalties or crippling fines if a voter-registration drive submits paperwork that’s incomplete or includes too many mistakes. A judge put the law on hold while it’s challenged in state and federal court.

      Legislators in New Hampshire, Arizona, Texas, and Florida have worked to make it more difficult for college students to vote on campus, or in the community where they attend school and live at least nine months out of the year. Red states including Ohio, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Indiana have embarked on aggressive voter purges and ensnared a disproportionate number of minority voters.

      Consider Georgia, where 313,000 voters are at risk of being eliminated from the voting rolls as elections officials continue an aggressive purging of the state’s master registration list. That follows a 2017 purge that canceled the registration of more than 540,000 voters, the largest mass voter expulsion in American history.

      Those voter purges, meanwhile, are part of a national trend. More than 17 million voters were culled from the rolls between 2016 and 2018, according to the Brennan Center for Justice (an additional 16 million were wiped in the previous two years),and while every voter purge is not voter suppression, officials often get it wrong in ways that make it look that way. Studies show that states with a history of voter discrimination (including Georgia, Texas, Arizona, and Virginia) have purged at the highest rates.

      Texas, meanwhile, would make it a felony for anyone to cast an ineligible ballot, even by accident. Arizona looked to dial back early voting and expand voter-ID requirements. And legislatures in Missouri, Utah, Michigan, and Idaho worked to unwind popular initiatives won by citizens demanding reforms politicians had refused to make. In Florida, where 64 percent of voters approved a 2018 state constitutional amendment ending felony disenfranchisement, lawmakers added an additional burden instead — complete repayment of any fines and fees connected to the sentence or prison term — that many critics compared to a poll tax.

      If parts of red America resemble democracy deserts, much of blue America is blooming.

      In Washington state, soon after Democrats captured the state Senate in 2017 and attained trifecta control, lawmakers adopted automatic voter registration, which allows citizens to sign up to vote almost any time they interact with a state agency. Then they added Election Day registration, which allows citizens to sign up and cast a ballot the very same day.

      Neighboring Oregon pioneered the use of automatic voter registration in 2016; a study showed that it not only added 270,000 people to the master rolls, but also increased the diversity of the electorate and drove turnout higher by between two and three percentage points. AVR’s success on the West Coast led to its passage in a total of 16 states including Massachusetts, New Jersey, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Vermont, and Rhode Island. Voters in Nevada and Michigan, meanwhile, adopted AVR through popular 2018 ballot initiatives.

      Pennsylvania lawmakers approved a bipartisan package of electoral reforms this year that will make registration easier and voting more convenient. It creates a new vote-by-mail option that’s not only open to everyone but also creates the longest voting window in the nation, and extends the pre-election registration deadlines. New York approved a similar package.

      In order to keep a public-health crisis from turning into a democracy crisis, politicians are going to have to end the voting wars, find common ground, and expand, together, things like online voter registration and no-excuse absentee balloting. They will need to empower local elections officials to begin counting absentee and mail-in votes prior to Election Day. Eight months scarcely seems like enough time to make all of this work under good conditions, let alone a pandemic.

      Ensuring that our democracy stays strong through an emergency should be nonpartisan. Vote by mail favors neither side. The right to vote is the right that sets all others in motion. But during the Senate debate on Tuesday, Republicans lined up in opposition, arguing that protecting access to the ballot box was somehow playing politics with a crisis.

      Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) called efforts to establish early voting and equal vote-by-mail access “a naked attempt to use a public-health emergency as a smoke screen for their radical agenda.” New early voting requirements, according to Sen. John Barasso (R-WY), “have no place in an emergency rescue package for the American people.” Over Twitter, quarantined Utah Sen. Mike Lee insisted that Congress should play no role in mandating equal access to early voting. As for election assistance funding, “that has nothing to do with COVID-19,” said Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN).

      How we conduct an election during a pandemic has everything to do with COVID-19. These senators could not be more wrong or short-sighted. They need only look to the March chaos in Ohio, where health fears forced Gov. Mike DeWine to postpone primary elections just hours before polls were scheduled to open. They should listen to worried election administrators in Wisconsin, deluged by a half-million absentee ballot requests for the state’s April 4th primary, more than double the number received in 2016. And they should study the growing list of states that have also pushed primaries into spring, which includes Texas, Georgia, Kentucky, and Louisiana.

      Our democracy deserts could affect the fall election: Some states might step up and fully fund vote by mail themselves, while others do not. Some states may protect poll workers and voters from long lines, and others may subject them to health risks.

      More frightfully, it’s enough to make some wonder whether the real purpose behind the GOP’s lack of urgency is to make it so difficult to safely hold elections in some states this November that state legislatures must exercise their constitutional right to choose Electoral College electors, tipping crucial swing states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin into chambers gerrymandered to advantage Republicans even when they win fewer statewide votes.

      Can we put an end to the unchecked growth of unfair democracy deserts? Will we reinvigorate our commitment to political equality for everyone, no matter where you live, in this moment of unparalleled crisis? The kind of nation we will become lies in the balance.

      David Daley is the author of the national best-seller “Ratf**ked: Why Your Vote Doesn’t Count.” and “Unrigged: How Americans Are Battling Back to Save Democracy.”

      Source: Read Full Article

      Your boss can SPY on you with Zoom – including seeing if you're not watching screen and reading your private chats

      YOUR boss could reportedly spy on you while you're using video chat app Zoom.

      Many workers are having to turn to Zoom for virtual conferences due to the coronavirus outbreak but they may not realise their actions are being watched.

      The privacy issue apparently surrounds the Zoom chat feature.

      If you send a chat to someone directly you may assume no one else can see it.

      However, an eagle-eyed professor has noticed that the in-meeting chat feature can save automatically, meaning everyone in the conference can see what you said.

      The anthropologist tweeted: "FYI: If you're having a committee meeting via Zoom and you use the chat function to privately write to someone, your colleagues may not see it in real time, but it shows up when the chat is downloaded and put in the minutes folder."

      The minutes folder of the chat could be controlled by your boss if they have called for the meeting.

      The host of a Zoom chat can also control who can chat to who and whether the in-meeting chat function is turned off altogether.

      The professor advised people not to private chat on Zoom unless they want the host to see.

      He added: "To answer a few questions: it wasn't my chat, it was a completely innocuous chat, and yes, I agree with everyone who has said to treat anything you do online as if it it public information."

      Lots os people replied to the revealing tweet agreeing with the discovery.

      One Twitter user responded: "Yes! The chat saves all the public conversation, and the private chats of the person who saved it (but not other private conversations).

      "I would recommend going through the saved text to remove private chats before saving in your minutes folder!"

      Hosts can also have other powers over the participants on the call, including 'attendee attention tracking'.

      The Zoom website states: "Hosts can see an indicator in the participant panel of a meeting or webinar if an attendee does not have Zoom Desktop Client or Mobile App in focus for more than 30 seconds while someone is sharing a screen.. "In focus" means the user has the Zoom meeting view is open and active."

      What is Zoom?

      Here's what you need to know…

      • Popular chat app Zoom is best-known for offering video calls – including calls with huge numbers of people
      • There's a free tier with unlimited meetings, but these group chats are capped at 40 minutes
      • The most expensive tier gets you meetings with up to 1,000 participants, but there are cheaper options
      • Perhaps the only downside is that Zoom has had privacy issues in the past, which may put some businesses off

      In other news, a world first drone delivery service is launching next week.

      Google Maps is about to release ‘mobility reports’ showing hotspots where people are going during lockdown.

      And, a conspiracy theory claiming 5G has caused the Covid-19 pandemic is doing the rounds on WhatsApp.

      Are you using Zoom during a lockdown? Let us know in the comments…

      Source: Read Full Article

      Best video editing apps on your iPhone – free and paid downloads revealed

      LOOKING for a great iPhone video editor? There are loads to choose from – including some cracking free options.

      We've rounded up some of the best mobile video editing apps for iPhone, to help you become the social media influencer you've always dreamed of being.

      1. Apple iMovie (iPhone)

      iMovie is Apple's powerful and popular video editor.

      It was originally built for Mac computers, but has since been remade for iPhones – and it works a treat.

      You can import clips easily, share portions of your videos, choose from loads of templates and music, and add in titles, transitions and filters.

      There are also slow-motion and fast-forward modes, plus picture-in-picture and split-screen effects.

      The app can also edit 4K footage, which is great news because Instagram's IGTV app also supports 4K video.

      • Get iMovie on the App Store for free – download now

      2. GoPro Quik (iPhone, Android)

      Quik is built by legendary action camera firm GoPro, and it's easy to tell when you load the app up.

      Add in your clips and the Quik app can automatically generate an amazing YouTube pro-style video, complete with dance music soundtrack.

      It's basically the perfect way to quickly turn your bundle of holiday clips into a half-decent video.

      But you can also piece your final video together manually too, using a selection of available transitions, graphics and music.

      The app makes it very easy to export to social media, and it's available on both iPhone and Android (for free, to boot)!

      • Get Quik on the App Store for free – download now
      • Get Quik on the Play Store for free – download now

      3. Videoshop (iPhone, Android)

      Videoshop doesn't have any big name backing, but it's built up a strong following nonetheless.

      It's simple design, attractive layout and strong selection of features make this a hugely popular app.

      You can trim clips, add animated titles, text and voice-overs, create slow-mo or stop-motion videos, and even use a neat Tilt Shift mode to add depth to your videos.

      It's also possible to edit the colouring of your clips, add music, and share directly to a range of social media apps – Instagram included.

      The good news is that it's free to download on both iOS and Android.

      • Get Videoshop on the App Store for free – download now
      • Get Videoshop on the Play Store for free – download now

      4. Apple Clips (iPhone)

      iMovie dates back to the '90s, so it's no surprise that last year Apple debuted Clips – a video editor for modern life.

      It's a lighter, more trimmed down editor (at least compared to iMovie), and is designed to create clips specifically for social media.

      It's an Apple creation, so it's only available on iPhone and iPad (sorry, Android users), and it's a seriously strong choice.

      You can combine videos, images and music into a single, seamless video very quickly, and then share it straight to social media.

      You can add animated "Live Titles" to your videos, voice dictation overlays, and filters and icons too.

      And, of course, it's possible to edit and rearrange your clips, as well as trim the length, or mute/delete portions of audio.

      • Get Clips on the App Store for free – download now

      5. KineMaster (iPhone, Android)

      Another excellent choice is KineMaster, which describes itself as a "mobile editing revolution".

      The idea is to take complicated professional-style tools, and pare them down so that they're simple enough for amateurs to use.

      You can add in multiple layers of video, images, stickers, text and even handwriting.

      There are picture-in-picture modes, a green screen option, and instant previews for your edits.

      You can trim, splice and slice frame-by-frame, and you have controls for tweaking the hue, brightness and saturation of your clips.

      There are oodles of transition effects (including wipes and fades), plus a host of animations and visual/audio effects too.

      And you can also download additional music, fonts, stickers, overlays and other assets for your videos from the built-in KineMaster Asset Store.

      It's a seriously powerful bit of kit, which explains why it's not completely free.

      The app has no cost to download, but you'll have to pay £2.91 a month (or £23.25 a year) for a subscription to actually use it.

      Still, you get what you pay for – and KineMaster is a very impressive mobile video editor.

      • Get KineMaster on App Store for free – download now
      • Get KineMaster on Play Store for free – download now

      In other news,

       

       

      Do you have any great app recommendations? Let us know in the comments!

      Source: Read Full Article

      Small-Business Virus Rescue Kicks Off in U.S. Beset by Concerns

      The Trump administration’s $349 billion small-business rescue starts Friday surrounded by concerns about its ability to handle an expected flood of applications and deliver enough aid to mom-and-pop firms hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.

      Hours before the program was scheduled to start taking applications, lenders complained they lacked sufficient guidance from the Small Business Administration on how to process them. While new rules were issued late Thursday, it wasn’t clear how quickly lenders would be able to comply with them or how many would participate because of what some see as disadvantageous terms.

      Advocates for lenders and small businesses also expressed concern on the eve of the program’s launch that distributing the money will take far longer than the same-day processing promised early on by the Trump administration. And with demand expected to far outstrip available funding, mom-and-pop shops will be at risk of losing out.

      “There’s a sense of urgency that there’s not actually enough money in the loan fund for the number of people who actually are desperately in need of help right now,” said Amanda Ballantyne, executive director of Main Street Alliance, an advocacy group for small businesses. “Business owners are sort of scrambling to make sure they can get a spot in line.”

      The relief package for small businesses is a key piece in the $2 trillion stimulus package President Donald Trump signed on March 27 aimed at shoring up an economy that ground to a halt amid the coronavirus outbreak. The 30 million small businesses in the U.S. employ half of the private workforce and their collapse would have long-lasting effects across the country.

      U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said at the White House’s daily coronavirus briefing Thursday night that Treasury and SBA officials including the agency’s new administrator Jovita Carranza have been working around the clock to flesh out the program guidelines with input from lenders.

      “This is an unprecedented effort by this administration to support small businesses, and we know that there will be challenges in the process,” Carranza said.

      Mnuchin announced at the briefing that the SBA would bump up to 1% the interest rate lenders may charge small businesses under the relief program after lenders complained that the previous rate of 0.5% was below their own cost of funds.

      In addition to drawing consternation from lenders and small business owners, the rollout is coming under fire from Republican Senators Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas for what they said were restrictions on churches and religious non-profits.

      The relief package, called the Paycheck Protection Program, allows small businesses to apply for loans of as much as $10 million, with payments deferred for six months. The loans, which are guaranteed by federal government and don’t require collateral, will be forgiven if funds are used for payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent and utility payments for two months and if businesses retain and rehire employees.

      But lenders were still waiting for guidance — which only arrived Thursday night — on what documentation they needed from borrowers and other guidelines to process the loans, said Julie Huston, chief executive of lender Immito LLC in Denver and chairwoman of The National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders, a trade association of banks and finance companies that make SBA loans.

      The banks will need time to review and implement the guidance and it isn’t clear whether enough lenders will sign on to the program to fill the need, Huston said.

      “How crazy is this?” said Robyn Schultz, who operates Quality Electric, a commercial light industrial electrical company based in Birmingham, Alabama, that her husband’s family has run for more than 50 years.

      “The government is issuing dates for people to apply, but the SBA doesn’t even have the guidelines,” said Schultz, who’d called her bank only to be told they needed more information and the local SBA office wasn’t able to help. “They can’t even tell you what you need to bring in to file the application.”

      Governments the world over are taking steps to shield small businesses. Those countries with a tradition of state-aid, such as those in Europe, have proved most successful so far in rolling out initiatives.

      In Germany, for instance, companies facing liquidity squeezes or whose income or capital have been eroded can ask for help from a state-run bank. In France, as of Thursday, 40,000 companies are benefiting from governments guarantees and have sought 7 billion euros ($7.6 billion) of loans.

      In the U.S., there are already concerns there won’t be enough funds to go around and that businesses without an established relationship with a lender will have a harder time getting funding. By one estimate, small businesses may need more than $1 trillion to replace lost revenue over the next three months.

      A senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told reporters on Tuesday there could be millions of applications when the program goes live Friday. Individual restaurants and hotels that are part of large, multinational chains or owned by private-equity firms also will be able to take advantage of the program, which could squeeze out small businesses.

      Borrowers must submit a two-page application with approved lenders, who will register the loans with the SBA, verify eligibility and disburse funds on a first-come, first-served basis. Small businesses with fewer than 500 employees can apply starting Friday, and independent contractors and the self-employed start April 10.

      “That doesn’t mean everybody is going to get their loan tomorrow, but the system will be up and running,” Mnuchin said at the White House briefing Thursday. He said he’ll ask Congress for more funding if the money runs out.

      Huston of the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders estimated demand could be three times the available funds.

      Small businesses that have worked with the SBA in the past or have a disaster relief loan will have a “leg up” on other small businesses because they will have a track record with SBA preferred lenders, said Brian Crawford, executive vice president of government affairs for the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

      Due to the volume of applications likely to be processed, Frost Bank is making the loans available to existing business customers only, said Bill Day, senior vice president and communications chief.

      The size of the stimulus package is unprecedented for the SBA, which is on its third administrator under Trump and is already showing signs of strain in carrying out the task. In the past weeks, so many people tried to access an existing Economic Injury Disaster Loan program that SBA’s website failed repeatedly, Bill Koontz, an SBA spokesman in California, said late last week.

      Furthermore, Carranza, a former top adviser to Mnuchin, has been in the job for barely three months. The agency is seeking to boost employees and the White House is dispatching staff to help, according to people familiar with the matter.

      “I’m very concerned that the systems that are perfectly adequate for normal operations just won’t be able to handle this,” said Karen Mills, a former SBA administrator.

      — With assistance by Naomi Nix, Hannah Levitt, Edward Ludlow, Zachary Mider, Max Reyes, Emma Kinery, Katia Dmitrieva, Josh Wingrove, and Susan Warren

      Source: Read Full Article