We must all stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives. If too many people become seriously unwell at one time, the NHS will be unable to handle it - meaning more people are likely to die, not just from COVID-19 but from other illnesses as well.
The Government knows that these social restrictions are disrupting people’s lives and jobs, and that’s why the Treasury has produced a huge programme of support for workers.
For the first time in our history – the Government will help pay people’s wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The grants will cover 80 per cent of the salary of retained workers up to a total of £2,500 a month.
I am very pleased that the Chancellor Rishi Sunak has also announced a new Self-Employed Income Support Scheme – helping 95 per cent of our country’s self-employed workers.
I have pressed the Government for such a package on numerous occasions in Parliament recently. As someone who was self-employed before being elected as your MP in 2005, I know how important it is for self-employed people to get the support they need during difficult times.
Through this scheme, the Government will pay self-employed people across the whole UK who have been adversely affected by coronavirus a grant worth 80 per cent of their average monthly profits over the last three years, up to £2,500 a month, for three months and will be extended for longer if necessary. This is unlike almost any other country and makes this Government’s scheme one of the most generous in the world.
Self-employed people who are eligible will be contacted by HMRC directly, asked to fill out a simple online form, and HMRC will pay the grant directly into their bank account. More information about this new package of support can be found at businesssupport.gov.uk.
I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who is following Government guidance, to those volunteering to help our community, and especially those serving as keyworkers.
I recognise the strain this outbreak is placing on our communities. My office team and I will continue to work hard to deal with constituents’ enquiries during this uncertain time.