The financial support package, as laid out by the Chancellor, includes a range of timely, targeted and temporary measures to deliver support where and when it is needed. The government is monitoring the on-going situation with care and the support on offer will be available for as long as is needed, based on latest scientific evidence.
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
SSP will be now be available for eligible individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 who are unable to work because they are self-isolating. This is in addition to the change announced by the Prime Minister that SSP will be payable from day 1 instead of day 4 for affected individuals.
People who are advised to self-isolate will now soon be able to obtain an alternative to the fit note to cover this by contacting NHS 111, rather than visiting a doctor. This can be used by employees where their employers require evidence. Further details will be confirmed shortly.
Universal Credit (UC) and Working Tax Credit (WTC)
The UC standard allowance and WTC basic element have been temporarily increased by £1,000 a year. The UC standard allowance will increase by £86.67 per month (equivalent to £20 per week), on top of the planned annual uprating. The WTC basic element will also increase by £20 per week, on top of the planned uprating. These increases will be automatically reflected in awards to individuals.
The requirements of the Universal Credit Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed from 6 April to reflect any loss in earnings caused by coronavirus, to help claimants (including the self-employed) who are adversely affected during this period. Individuals will also be able to claim Universal Credit and access advance payments upfront without the current requirement to attend a job centre.
Funding for Local Authority
£500m more funding so Local Authorities can support economically vulnerable people and households. The government expects most of this funding to be used to provide more council tax relief, either through existing Local Council Tax Support schemes, or through complementary reliefs. MHCLG will set out more detail on this funding, including allocations, shortly.
A 3 month mortgage holiday has been instituted, meaning that individuals affected by coronavirus will not make any payments whatsoever towards their mortgages whilst this is ongoing. Eviction proceedings have been banned for an initial 3 months, to prevent tenants in financial difficulty from losing their rental properties.
All Local Housing Allowance rates will be uplifted to the 30th percentile of market rents. This is worth an extra £14 a week on average for the 1.2 million existing claimants and any additional Universal Credit claimants who rent in the private sector.
The government has put these measures in place to ensure individuals receive the funding they need to respond to the outbreak as the situation develops. Please note the support for individuals affected by COVID-19 is available in accordance with government guidelines.
Should you wish to read more about the budget, and the support made available to tackle COVID-19, please visit the HM Treasury website here.
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