Coronavirus: Universal Basic Income ‘one of the options’ to help workers – Boris Johnson
The Prime Minister Boris Johnson was asked about Universal Basic Income as a temporary measure during the coronavirus pandemic by SNP minister Ian Blackflord during Prime Minister’s Questions today. Speaking in the House of Commons today, Mr Blackford said: “I welcome the fact that the parties across this house and governments across these islands have worked together, as we attempt to protect all our peoples.
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“It is the right approach, and it is the very least the public expect and deserve from us.
“Yesterday, the Chancellor announced a £330billion financial package for business. Today, the UK governmnt needs to announce a financial package for people.
“Members from six parties across this house have now expressed support for a temporary Universal Basic Income to help everyone – especially freelancers, renters and the self-employed.
“Using the current tax system, will the Prime Minister stand up today and give a commitment to provide people with the security of a Universal Basic Income?”
Responding to the question, Mr Johnson said: “Do not underestimate the value to people of the measures we have already announced to support business and keep jobs going.”
He added: “It is also important that throughout this crisis, we take steps to support workers, and the suggestion that he makes is of course one of many such suggestions.”
Universal Basic Income is a governmental public program for a periodic payment, which is delivered to everyone on an individual basis, without means-testing or work requirements.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell is said to be a supporter of basic income, and on February 16, 2016, the MP said that Universal Basic Income is “an idea we want to look at”.
Amid the pandemic, many may wonder where they can turn in order to seek financial support.
Explaining some options, Sara Willcocks, Head of Communications at Turn2us, told Express.co.uk: “There is financial support available to people struggling with money due to COVID-19.
“People can claim benefits like Universal Credit or ESA from the government, or alternatively they could get Statutory Sick Pay from their employer.”
Ms Willcocks explained that it may be that non-repayable forms of support are available via charitable funds.
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She said: “There are also millions of pounds available in grants from charities which you don’t have to pay back.
“Charitable funds exist to support people in the face of life changing events like this.
“We urge anyone who is affected financially by the coronavirus outbreak to visit the Turn2us website and find out what benefits they are entitled to and what grants they are eligible for.”
Elsewhere this week, Citizens Advice has called on the government for “further emergency measures” to be taken amid the pandemic.
As of 9am on 17 March 17, 2020, 50,442 people have been tested in the UK, of which 1,950 were confirmed as positive.
Public Health England has said that the latest confirmed number of deaths will be announced later today.
Monday marked the first of a series of daily news conferences, which will be led by the prime minister or senior ministers, alongside the government’s chief medical adviser, Professor Chris Whitty, and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.
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