Closed petition Give all key workers a 100% tax and Nat. Ins. holiday through COVID-19 crisis

The government is helping private firms to protect jobs by paying up to 80% of staff wages through this crisis. If it can do this why can it not help key workers who will be putting themselves/their families at risk and working extra hard under extremely challenging and unprecedented circumstances.

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The majority of key workers are struggling financially after a decade of austerity and this small gesture will demonstrate how the government and the country as a whole values what they do for us all. The extra money will also go some way to easing the exceptional strain that is being and will continue to be placed on these key workers and their families.

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Government responded

This response was given on 27 April 2020

The Government has announced an unprecedented package of measures to support public services and workers through Coronavirus, targeting support where it’s needed most.

Read the response in full

The Coronavirus is the biggest threat the UK has faced in decades. Key workers have already demonstrated remarkable commitment to keeping the public safe in the continuing fight against the virus. The Government hugely values and appreciates these vital contributions to the COVID-19 response, both in the private and public sector.

Key workers deserve to be properly rewarded for the work they do. The Government has agreed specific pay and pension packages for a number of public sector workforces, including in the NHS, both to increase system capacity and recognise their work. More than one million NHS workers continue to benefit from the three-year Agenda for Change pay deal. The reforms will see the starting salary for a newly qualified nurse rise to £24,907 in 2020/21, 12.6% higher than 2017/18.

In addition, the Government is supporting those at work through the package of measures it has announced to protect against the current economic emergency. This includes significant changes to the operation of statutory sick pay, universal credit, and employment and support allowance, so that people have quicker and more generous access to a support system. To support self-employed individuals affected by the coronavirus outbreak, the Government has also announced a new Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, alongside the deferral of income tax and VAT payments.

The Government is targeting support where it is most needed. A blanket tax holiday would be untargeted. Those paying higher rates of tax would receive the greatest benefit, while low-earning individuals with income below the personal allowance or the NICs primary threshold would not benefit. Furthermore, HMRC’s systems have not been designed to distinguish between key workers and non-key workers, and so the extension of this tax treatment to key workers would be vulnerable to exploitation and fraud by people who were not key workers and so not entitled to it.

The UK’s economic response to COVID-19 is one of the most generous and comprehensive in the world, and the Government is now working urgently to deliver these schemes as quickly as possible.

The Government is also closely monitoring the impact of measures, having regard to the need to support public services, businesses, and individuals, and will continue to keep all policies under review.

HM Treasury

Other parliamentary business

MPs investigate the economic impact of coronavirus

A group of MPs called the Treasury Committee is investigating the economic impact of coronavirus, including looking at support for businesses, employees and self-employed people.

The Committee launched the first stage of its inquiry on 18 March to look at the speed, effectiveness and reach of the Government’s and Bank of England’s immediate financial response to coronavirus.

During this stage, the Committee pushed the Government on the lack of support for the self-employed, on lenders requesting personal guarantees on business interruption loans, and on the issue of large firms struggling to get support, including in order to retain their employees.

On 24 April the Committee launched the next stage of its inquiry, in which it will examine the effectiveness, cost and sustainability of the Government’s and Bank of England’s support packages. The Committee will also examine the impact on the economy and different sectors, the implications for public finances, and how the Government can work towards a sustained recovery.

You can find out about the inquiry, including how to submit your views and details of meetings the Committee is holding, here: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/224/economic-impact-of-coronavirus/

The Treasury Committee is a cross-party group of MPs and is independent of the Government. The Committee looks at and questions the Government about matters relating to the spending of public money and economic policy.

You can find out more about the Treasury Committee on their website: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/158/treasury-committee

You can follow the Treasury Committee on Twitter: @CommonsTreasury

The Treasury Committee is a ‘select committee’. Find out how Select Committees work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_2RDuDs44c

Has coronavirus affected your business in Wales?

A group of MPs called the Welsh Affairs Committee is looking into the impact of coronavirus on the Welsh economy, and would like to hear your views.

If your business in Wales has been affected by coronavirus, complete this survey to tell the Welsh Affairs Committee how the coronavirus outbreak has affected you: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=nt3mHDeziEC-Xo277ASzSsdf6aRbb_hHi61kcnJ3-KJUNEpKUVQ3ODkxU0tTQUdVV05ZMFhYRFozRy4u

The survey should only take 10 minutes to complete, and closes at 5pm on 15 May.

The Welsh Affairs Committee is a cross-party group of MPs and is independent of the Government. The Committee looks at and questions the Government about matters that have an impact on Wales.

You can find out more about the Welsh Affairs Committee on their website: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/162/welsh-affairs-committee/

You can follow the Welsh Affairs Committee on Twitter: @CommonsWelshAff

The Welsh Affairs Committee is a ‘select committee’. Find out how Select Committees work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_2RDuDs44c

Further Information

You may also be interested to know that because of the large number of petitions that have been started in relation to coronavirus, the Petitions Committee has been questioning the Government about its response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Find out more and watch the Committee put questions suggested by petitioners to Government Ministers and the Deputy Chief Medical Officer: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/news/145767/committee-question-deputy-chief-medical-officer-and-ministers-on-coronavirus-response/

Read letters from the Committee asking further questions of Government Ministers: https://committees.parliament.uk/work/192/the-governments-response-to-coronavirus/publications/

Visit our website to find news and information on other activity in relation to coronavirus and other issues: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/

You can read impartial analysis of the Government response to coronavirus and policy developments here: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/coronavirus/