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Coronavirus: Employment Support

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 19th March 2020.

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Photo of John Glen John Glen Minister of State (Treasury) (City), The Economic Secretary to the Treasury 10:30 am, 19th March 2020

I am very grateful to my right hon. Friend for raising this matter. I made clear in my response the urgency of the Government’s deliberations on this—it is absolutely at the top of everything we are doing. Ministers are working flat out, 24/7, to look at all the options.

My right hon. Friend raises the specific anxieties of businesses. I recognise that the package of measures that we have put out—with respect to statutory sick pay, easier access to universal credit and employment and support allowance, the business rates relief, the small business grant facility, the local authority hardship funds and the HMRC forbearance measures—will for some not feel sufficient at this point. However, he will also know from his experience in government that it is very important that when the Government announce the measures that we wish to take to assist with supporting employees, they need to be effective and need to work. So I say to the House and to my right hon. Friend: be in no doubt that all options are being examined. We are looking at models that exist in other jurisdictions and when, very imminently, the Chancellor comes to the House, we want to be sure that what we announce will be effective.