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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

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. It is important that the Government do whatever it takes in these circumstances. He raises a number of specific points. He will be familiar with the changes we have made in terms of access to statutory sick pay and eligibility starting much sooner; that commenced from 13 March. He will be aware that, to make that easier, there is now no need to have a GP note. He makes number of points on universal credit and changing the eligibility there. Advances are available online; the minimum income floor has been temporarily released. He also makes a number of points about freelancers and the self-employed, which the Government are clear about.

The hon. Gentleman mentioned the universal basic income. The Government are looking at that, but the question whether it will help the most affected most urgently is one we have to consider. Many of us in this House, for example, would not require such support. We have to ensure that we target it at the most vulnerable.