Thank you for getting in touch with me on the campaign by the Trussell Trust for a Coronavirus Emergency Income Support Scheme.
The financial support already available from the Government during this pandemic is among the most generous anywhere in the world. Further to measures created by HM Treasury for employees, the self-employed, landlords, and businesses of all sizes, it is also now easier to access Universal Credit and other welfare options. I welcome steps taken by the Department for Work and Pensions to increases to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credit, supporting people’s income. This is in addition to the 1.7% uplift to all benefits that came into effect in April, ending the benefits freeze.
On your point about reducing individual household outgoings, a freeze has been issued on the recovery of overpayments of Universal Credit, Social Fund loans and Tax Credit debts. The Government has also introduced mortgage holidays and suspended new evictions while this national emergency is taking place, as well as uplifting the Local Housing Allowance rates for Universal Credit and Housing Benefit claimants, recognising pressure on household resources.
The Government’s Coronavirus Community Support Fund aims to support the tens of thousands of charities and organisations at the heart of local communities that are making a big difference, including delivering food, essential medicines and providing financial advice. £200 million of funding is helping organisations ensure they can meet increased demand as a result of the pandemic, as well as continuing their day to day activities supporting vulnerable people in need.
These measures represent an injection of over £6.5 billion into the welfare system and, along with the other job and business support programmes announced by the Chancellor, represent one of the most comprehensive packages of support introduced by an advanced economy in response to the Coronavirus outbreak.
I know that my colleagues are continuously reviewing existing and new policies and analysing how best to deliver crucial support to those that need it at this worrying time.