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. Workers in the arts, in hospitality and service industries have already seen a drastic loss in income. The Government must provide them with financial stability in the form of temporary universal basic income.
If you are a PAYE employee, the Government has committed to paying 80% of your salary whilst on furlough. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are self-employed, the Government has recently announced a grant scheme to provide 80% of income up to £2,500 month. You can learn more here. I welcome these measures but I remain concerned that there are some gaps which leave many constituents without support. 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 Citizen’s Advice Bureau’s specialist guidance here. Despite vociferous opposition, there is still a completely unacceptable five week wait to receive Universal Credit so it is important to apply as soon as there are changes in your circumstances.
Please do get in touch if you have any problems with your applications to the DWP, and I will do my best to help.
The Government has also announced a package of reforms to support people at this time, including legislation to prevent evictions from the private rented sector and to prevent energy companies cutting off supply to households which fall behind on payments. Lambeth and Southwark Councils and housing associations will also halt evictions from social housing.