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Agency Workers: Coronavirus

Treasury written question – answered on 21st May 2020.

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Photo of Darren Jones Darren Jones Chair, Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, Chair, Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will review the Government's financial support packages for agency workers who (a) are unable to access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, (b) have recently lost their employment and (c) who are ineligible to claim universal credit because they hold more than £16,000 in savings.

Photo of Jesse Norman Jesse Norman The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

The Government is committed to protecting people’s jobs and incomes as far as possible. In March the Government announced the unprecedented Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which has so far supported more than 7.5 million jobs and was recently extended to October. Employers can claim for employees on any type of contract, including agency workers.

For individuals who need to rely on the safety net of the welfare state, the Government has announced a significant package of temporary measures to support them. These include a £20 per week increase to the Universal Credit (UC) standard allowance, and for renters, an increase to the Local Housing Allowance rates so that the UC housing element covers the cheapest third of local rents.

In order to ensure that support is targeted at families most in need, households with capital, such as savings, above £16,000 will be ineligible for UC. In such cases, it is likely that they will have alternative means of financial support.

Individuals who have lost their jobs may be entitled to other welfare support. If they have made sufficient National Insurance contributions, they may be eligible for new style Jobseeker’s Allowance, which does not take savings into account. More information is available at

www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/employment-and-benefits-support.

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