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Personal Income: Coronavirus

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 28th April 2020.

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Photo of Angela Crawley Angela Crawley Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Defence Procurement)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, if she will make an assessment of the potential merits of the proposal from Citizens Advice to establish a Crisis Minimum Income of £180 per week for people affected by the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Will Quince Will Quince The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Holding answer received on 31 March 2020

There are no plans to introduce a crisis minimum income at this time.

The Government has been clear in its commitment to support those affected in these difficult times and we have made a number of changes to the welfare system to ensure people are receiving the support they need. These changes include:

  • making it easier to access benefits. Those applying for Contributory ESA will be able to claim from day 1 – as opposed to day 8 - and we have removed the need for face-to-face assessment. Both Universal Credit and Contributory ESA can now be claimed by phone or online;
  • increasing the standard rate of Universal Credit and working tax credit for this year by around £1000 per year;
  • temporarily relaxing the application of the Minimum Income Floor (MIF) for all self-employed claimants affected by the economic impact of COVID-19 to ensure that the self-employed can access UC at a more generous rate;
  • making Statutory Sick Pay available from day 1 – as opposed to day 4 - where an eligible individual is sick or self-isolating; and
  • increasing the Local Housing Allowance rates for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit claimants so that it covers at least 30% of the market rents in an area – which is on average £600 in people’s pockets.

Taken together, these measures represent an injection of over £6.5 billion into the welfare system and, along with other job and business support programmes announced by the Chancellor, represent one of the most comprehensive packages of support introduced by an advanced economy in response to the covid-19 outbreak.

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