Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Petition One-off Grant To Be Paid To Anyone Who Has Not Benefited From A Covid-19 Scheme

Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on all aspects of our lives, not least financially. When the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, said, “no one will be left behind”, unfortunately this appears to have turned out not to be true.

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There are many people who through no fault of their own, have not qualified for any financial assistance during this time, eg. new starters, newly self-employed, freelancers, contractors and limited company directors, to name a few.

Please will Parliament discuss giving a one-off grant to all constituents who have been ineligible for financial support from all Covid-19 schemes in place, to help them at this difficult time.

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Government responded

This response was given on 30 July 2020

Individuals who cannot benefit from the Job Retention Scheme or Self-Employment Income Support schemes can benefit from the comprehensive package of other support for workers and businesses.

Read the response in full

The Government has taken unprecedented steps to keep people in work, protect people’s incomes, and support businesses. Its economic response is one of the most generous and comprehensive in the world, with the latest statistics highlighting how this support is protecting jobs and helping individuals across all four nations of UK.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is helping firms to keep millions of people in employment. As of midnight on 12 July, the CJRS has so far helped 1.2 million employers across the UK furlough 9.4 million jobs. The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) also helps those adversely affected by COVID-19. As of midnight on 12 July, 2.7 million individuals have claimed grants worth £7.8 billion in total.

The Government needed to deliver support at extreme speed, and it prioritised the creation of schemes that could help as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. The Government worked with stakeholders and carefully considered the case for changing the schemes, taking action where it can. For example, the eligibility cut-off date for the CJRS was extended from 28 February to 19 March to allow more than 200,000 employees to be furloughed. This change made the scheme more generous while keeping the substantial fraud risks under control.

It is not possible to extend support through a one-off grant to groups which are ineligible under the rules of the CJRS and SEISS because of data gaps, the challenges of proving eligibility for such a one-off grant and therefore the risk of fraud, and design and operational complexity. This does not mean these groups have been forgotten or that support is not available for those who are not eligible through the CJRS and SEISS. The CJRS and SEISS continue to be just two elements of a much larger package of support for individuals and businesses. This package includes Bounce Back loans, £30 billion worth of VAT payment deferrals, £1 billion more support for renters, increased levels of Universal Credit, three month mortgage holidays that are being granted to 1 in every 6 UK mortgages, and other business support grants. These measures will support millions of families, businesses and individuals to get through this and emerge on the other side both stronger and more united.

As the Government now begins to re-open the economy, it is right that state support is reduced and the focus shifts to getting people back to work. On 8 July, the Government introduced the new Plan for Jobs which will make available up to £30 billion to assist in creating, supporting and protecting jobs. It is supporting people in finding jobs, providing £895 million to enhance work search support services, doubling the number of work coaches in Jobcentre Plus centres as well as setting out ambitious plans to support tens of thousands of jobs and improvements to our infrastructure through £8.6 billion of infrastructure, decarbonisation and maintenance projects. This is alongside many other measures that will help support people and kickstart the economic recovery. More information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/a-plan-for-jobs-documents/a-plan-for-jobs-2020

HM Treasury

This is a revised response. The Petitions Committee requested a response which more directly addressed the request of the petition. You can find the original response towards the bottom of the petition page (https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/319899)

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At 100,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in Parliament

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Original Government response

Individuals who cannot benefit from the Job Retention Scheme or Self-Employment Income Support schemes can benefit from the comprehensive package of other support for workers and businesses.

The Government has taken unprecedented steps to keep people in work, protect people’s incomes, and support businesses. Its economic response is one of the most generous and comprehensive in the world, with the latest statistics highlighting how this support is protecting jobs and helping individuals across all four nations of UK.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is helping firms keep millions of people in employment. As of midnight on 14 June, the CJRS has so far helped 1.1 million employers across the UK furlough 9.1 million jobs.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) also helps those adversely affected by COVID-19. As of midnight on 14 June, 2.6 million individuals have claimed grants worth £7.6 billion in total.

The Government needed to deliver support at incredible speed, and it prioritised creating schemes that could help as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. The Government worked with stakeholders and carefully considered the case for changing the schemes, taking action where it can. For example, the eligibility cut-off date for the CJRS was extended from 28 February to 19 March to allow more than 200,000 employees to be furloughed. This change made the scheme more generous while keeping the substantial fraud risks under control.

In other areas, it has not been possible to extend the schemes in other ways because of design and operational complexity, which would have taken much longer to implement, but this does not mean these groups have been forgotten or that no support is available for those who are not eligible through the CJRS and SEISS. These schemes continue to be just two elements of an enormous package of support for individuals and businesses. This package includes Bounce Back loans, tax deferrals, rental support, increased levels of Universal Credit, mortgage holidays, and other business support grants. These measures will support millions of families, businesses and individuals to get through this and emerge on the other side both stronger and more united.

HM Treasury

This response was given on 22 June 2020. The Petitions Committee then requested a revised response, that more directly addressed the request of the petition.

MPs to debate Government spending on Covid-19 support for employees and the self-employed

On Tuesday 7 July MPs will debate the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and support for the self-employed through the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.
The debate should start at around 4pm, although the exact start time will depend on other business, and you can watch the debate live here: https://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/51b7cb07-c3d5-4e95-b272-4732c0e9f5b9

A transcript will be published the following day here: https://hansard.parliament.uk

The debate has been requested by the Chair of the Treasury Committee, which recently published a report on the economic impact of coronavirus, and gaps in support: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/1446/documents/13238/default/

This debate is being held as part of several Estimates Day debates, where MPs debate and agree the Government’s spending plans. You can find out more about Estimates Day debates and the subjects that are being debated here: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/202/backbench-business-committee/news/147093/backbench-business-committee-confirms-topics-for-estimates-day-debates/

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