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21 March 2020 22:33

Universal Credit self-employed

Coronavirus: Government announces it will pay 80 per cent of salaries of employees unable to work, extra for Universal Credit and help for self-employed

Universal Credit is to get a boost as the Government pumps almost £7 billion into the welfare system to protect people's incomes during the coronavirus crisis. The Universal Credit standard allowance will be increased by £1,000 a year for the next 12 months, Rishi Sunak said, while the working tax credit basic element will be boosted by the same amount. The Chancellor's announcement of £1,000 a year equates to just over £80 a month on top - and this would likely be added to the April increase in standard allowances. Self-employed workers will be able to access Universal Credit payments in full, at a rate equivalent to statutory sick pay eligible to employees. The Government is pledging nearly £1 billion for renters through increasing housing benefit and Universal Credit so the local housing allowance covers at least 30% of market rents.

Mr Sunak told the press conference: "The actions I have taken today represent an unprecedented economic intervention to support the jobs and incomes of the British people. "We are already hearing from people who are rapidly losing work and we think the Government may need to further increase Housing Benefit to cover average rents as well as introduce other measures to provide crucial security to these workers during this crisis." However, Treasury Chief Secretary Stephen Barclay has said that providing protection for the incomes of the self-employed during the coronavirus outbreak would be "operationally" difficult to deliver. The Government has faced criticism that it plan to underwrite the wages of millions of workers did not cover the freelancers, contractors and the self-employed. However, Mr Barclay said they would benefit from measures as the deferral of self-assessment tax requirements, the holidays for mortgage payers and the strengthening of the welfare "safety net". "So we have increased the allowance on Universal Credit, we have made it available from day one, we have removed the minimum income floor so if people who are self-employed are working less than 35 hours in a week they are not penalised within the benefits system." How often your benefits are paid Attendance Allowance - Usually every 4 weeks Carer's Allowance - Weekly in advance or every 4 weeks Child Benefit - Usually every 4 weeks - or weekly if you're a single parent or you or your partner get certain benefits Disability Living Allowance - Usually every 4 weeks Employment and Support Allowance - Usually every 2 weeks Income Support - Usually every 2 weeks Jobseeker's Allowance - Usually every 2 weeks Pension Credit - Usually every 4 weeks Personal Independence Payment - Usually every 4 weeks State Pension - Usually every 4 weeks Tax credits, such as Working Tax Credits - Every week or every 4 weeks Universal Credit - Every month (except in Scotland and Northern Ireland) Pressed on whether the Government would come forward with measures specifically for the self-employed, he said: "I come back to this underlying point about operationally what is difficult to do and what can be delivered to the timescales were are working to." Union and business leaders welcomed the employment measures announced by the Chancellor, although the Government was warned they had come too late for some workers who have already lost their jobs.

Mike Clancy, general secretary of Prospect, said: "The Government has finally acted to secure incomes during the pandemic and we welcome the steps they have taken on universal credit, tax delays and income protection for employees. "There is still no real protection for freelance, self-employed and contract workers who seem not to be covered by the income protection scheme and are being left to struggle through the inadequate benefits system." Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, director general of the CBI, said: "This is a landmark package of measures for business, people and jobs. "The deferral of VAT payments keeps money in the pockets of businesses so that they can pay their people and suppliers, and the commitment to cover wages of those unable to work will allow firms to retain jobs if they are forced to reduce their operations." Tim Roache, GMB general secretary said: "We're not natural bedfellows with a Conservative Chancellor, but in a time of unprecedented national crisis it's important we work together for the good of workers and the economy." Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: "People concerned about their jobs and livelihoods will feel hugely reassured today that the Chancellor has acted swiftly." Chancellor Rishi Sunak said Universal Credit users could receive an extra £1,000 a year in benefits to help them while those laid off work during the shutdown of many industries in the UK could receive 80 per cent of their salary from the Government. "I have a responsibility to make sure that we protect, as far as possible, people's jobs and incomes," said the Chancellor. "Today I can announce that in the first time of our history, the Government is going to step in and help pay people's wages." The welfare package comes alongside a new programme called the 'Covid Job Retention Scheme' which will see the government pay 80pc of retained workers' wages up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.

Alongside the rise in benefits payments, Rishi Sunak said the minimum income floor for the self employed would be scrapped so that they can claim Universal Credit. ''I'm strengthening the safety net for self-employed people too by suspending the minimum income floor for everyone affected by the economic impact of coronavirus," he said. ''That means that self-employed people can now access, in full, Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to statutory sick pay for employees." "Employers will be able to contact HMRC for a grant to cover most of the wages of people who are not working but are furloughed and kept on payroll rather than being laid off. "Government grants will cover 80pc of the salary of retained workers up to a total of £2,500 a month - that's just above the median income." Government grants will cover 80 per cent of the salary of retained workers up to a total of £2,500 a month to people whose jobs are at risk. The government expects the first job-retention grants to be payed before the end of April and the scheme is initially expected to operate for three months.

The Government has announced it will pay 80 per cent of salaries of employees unable to work due to the coronavirus crisis. Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the decision on Friday as the Government called on all pubs, restaurants, cafes, theatres, leisure centres and gyms to close for the foreseeable future. Mr Sunak said the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which will cover up to £2,500 a month, was an unprecedented move and would support workers unable to work but kept on the payroll. "The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will cover the cost of wages backdated to March 1 and will be open initially for at least three months — and I will extend the scheme for longer if necessary," said Mr Sunak. In addition to assisting retained workers, the Government said it would increase the Universal Credit standard allowance for the next 12 months, by £1,000.

The Chancellor said he would also up the Working Tax Credit basic element by £1,000 across the same period. Mr Sunak said these measures would benefit over 4 million of the country's most vulnerable households. And to help self-employed people, the Government said it would suspend the minimum income floor for everyone affected, meaning these people will be able to access Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to Statutory Sick Pay. To also help the self-employed through the tax system, Mr Sunak announced that the next self-assessment payments would be deferred until January 2021. The series of decisions announced on Friday means an extra £7bn will be available to support the welfare system and strengthen the safety net of people's incomes. Many workers across the country have been laid off, with others experiencing a rapid reduction in their working hours - here's what we know about the job retention scheme. 3 Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a bailout for millions of workers amid the coronavirus pandemic Credit: PA:Press Association Speaking at the daily coronavirus press conference, Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Friday announced a bailout for millions of workers, who will effectively have their jobs frozen during the pandemic. The new coronavirus job retention scheme will cover wages up to £2,500 a month. Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the employee retention scheme will cover "everybody who is on the PAYE system through a company." Self-employed people will not be eligible for the coronavirus job retention scheme. Instead self-employed people will need to claim Universal Credit.