Coronavirus: more than a million left out of income support, say MPs

The Treasury should act to help more than a million people who have fallen through the cracks in the government’s Covid-19 income support schemes, according to a report by an influential group of MPs.

The MPs called on Sunak to address the gaps in his coronavirus job retention scheme (CJRS) and self-employment income support scheme (SEISS).

The MPs said they recognised that Sunak’s costly financial support packages had been welcome to many of those unable to work due to the lockdown of the economy, but found that “rolling out financial support at pace and scale has inevitably resulted in some hard edges in policy design and some critical gaps in provision”.

The MPs said hundreds of thousands of people are suffering financial hardship through no fault of their own, often due to unfortunate timing in starting a new job, or new self-employed

business, or their employer's choice of timing in submitting payroll paperwork to the HMRC tax authority.

Another group that has fallen through the net is freelancers or those on short-term contracts. The MPs said that in industries such as television and theatre, where short-term contracts are the norm, many workers are not entitled to support under the schemes.

The report said: "This cannot be right. The government should give this group access to financial support that equates to 80% of their average monthly income, up to a total of £2,500 per month."

Posted on Jun 14, 2020.

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