Chancellor takes vital steps to protect jobs but many workers will still struggle to stay afloat this winter - JRF

The Chancellor’s latest updates to the Job Support Scheme (JSS) offer welcome support to preserve jobs, but more action is needed to help families through a difficult winter and ensure that the vital social security lifeline remains in place.

Rebecca McDonald, Senior Economist at the independent Joseph Rowntree Foundation said:

“Holding back the coming wave of unemployment is no easy task and it is right that the Chancellor has taken steps to protect more jobs and correct the shortcomings in the Winter Economic Plan - boosting the grants and support available to businesses, workers and the self-employed.

“With four million workers in poverty before coronavirus, we can’t expect people to stay afloat on an ever-smaller fraction of their existing income when their costs have not changed.

“It’s right that more support will now be available for people working in businesses affected by a loss of demand rather than just forced closures, but that needs to be enough for workers and their families to keep the roof over their head and food on the table through a very difficult winter.

“It remains essential that we protect the worst off during difficult times, and this makes retaining the lifeline of the £20 uplift in Universal Credit and extending it to legacy benefits even more crucial for the whole nation to make it through the coming storm.

“Too many people now find themselves on the brink of being pulled further into poverty during the course of this year. The Chancellor has taken important steps today but we can’t lose sight of the need to reduce poverty by creating good jobs for the long term”.