We are already seeing the catastrophic effects of the pandemic on our national and local economy. I welcome many of the urgent welfare reforms the Government has announced, but I believe they must be much more radical. There is an urgent need for flexible targeted support for the industries most at risk, such as the arts and hospitality, to save jobs. Full guidance for the Government’s current schemes can be found here
If you are a PAYE employee, the government has committed to contribute towards your salary if you work at least 33% of your usual hours. Your employer should discuss this with you if you are still on furlough and have been unable to return to work. If not, you should speak with your employer as soon as you can about this. If you have any difficulties with your employer or accessing the scheme please email me at email@example.com
If you are self-employed, the Government has recently announced a limited extention to the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme. If you are continuing to actively trade but are facing reduced demand you will be able to claim a grant of up to 20% of your average monthly earnings for September to January, with details of a grant from February to April 2021 to be confirmed.
I welcome these measures but I remain concerned that there are some gaps which leave many constituents without support. This will provide no support for residents in industries which are unable to reopen or trade at the current time. I am continuing to raise these issues with the Treasury and will continue to call for loopholes to be addressed so that no worker is left without support.
If you are unable to access these schemes, or awaiting payment through the self-employed scheme, the Government is advising you to apply for Universal Credit. I would encourage you to look at the Citizens’ Advice Bureau’s specialist guidance here. If your employer has contacted you to discuss redundancy or any changes to your pay or contracted hours, I would encourage you to contact ACAS for free independent advice here.
Please do get in touch if you have any problems, and I will do my best to help.