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MPs: Over One Million Missing Out on Coronavirus Income Support

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Over one million people are missing out on the government schemes that were created to support them, according to MPs.

Ministers were called on by the Treasury Select Committee to rectify holes in the schemes in order to make good on the government’s promise of ‘doing whatever it takes’.

The government schemes have protected the jobs and livelihoods of millions, but the committee’s interim report argues that it hasn’t done enough. Freelancers and recent employees are among those who cannot get access to support.

"The Treasury's interventions have been welcomed by many but rolling out financial support at pace and scale has inevitably resulted in some hard edges in policy design and some critical gaps in provision," said the committee.

"The government must assist these people if it is to completely fulfil its promise to do whatever it takes to protect people from the economic impact of coronavirus.”

MPs have highlighted the fact that hundreds of thousands are struggling with their finances, often due to unlucky timing when starting a new job.

The Treasury claimed it would cover 80% of the salaries of furloughed workers back when the lockdown started. However, the scheme does not cover those who started a new job after the 28 February cut-off date. Despite the cut-off date being extended since then, the committee says that many are still left out.

The committee also says that companies with annual profits of over £50,000, and those who became self-employed within the last year, are also being failed by the government.

Additionally, those in industries which work predominantly with short-term contracts, such as television and theatre, are not receiving any support.

"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,” the report said.

Mel Stride, Treasury Committee chairman, said: "The chancellor has said that he will do whatever it takes to support people and businesses from the economic impact of the pandemic. Overall, he has acted at impressive scale and pace.

"However, the committee has identified well over a million people who, through no fault of their own, have lost livelihoods while being locked down and locked out of the main support programmes.”

A spokesperson for the Treasury said: "The swift and targeted action we've taken has protected millions of jobs and livelihoods and our interventions have been rightly welcomed by the select committee.

"Our wide-ranging support package is one of the most comprehensive in the world - with generous income support schemes, billions paid in loans and grants, tax deferrals and more than £6.5 billion injected into the welfare safety net.

"All our support is targeted to make sure we use public funds responsibly, helping those who need it most as quickly as possible, while minimising fraud risk.”

Harry Pererra
Harry Pererra

Harry turns on his experience in journalism and programming to write about the latest news in the world of tech and the environemtn. When he isn’t writing for usave he is working towards his Blue Belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and prefers dogs to cats.

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