Updated coronavirus briefing: we need a lifeline to help people keep their heads above water

We welcome the Government's bold and compassionate measures that will offer security to families in this time of turmoil. Our briefing - updated on 3 April 2020 - sets out recommendations for more measures to help people who don't yet have the lifeline they need.

Despite these welcome measures, there are many of us - people who are already in poverty and people who could be swept into it - who will not yet be feeling like they have been offered the lifeline they need to weather this storm.

This briefing, updated on 3 April 2020 following the latest measures, calls on the Government to go further and offer security to those of us who are not yet covered by the initial steps.

  1. Provide as many people as possible with the security of staying in work by extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to all workers taking time off work because of underlying health conditions, and extending the Scheme to those reducing working hours, as well as those who are being granted a leave of absence (‘furloughed’).
  2. Get more money into people’s pockets to hold them steady by increasing the level of Statutory Sick Pay to align with the Job Retention Scheme, extending eligibility for Statutory Sick Pay to low earners, and strengthening the social security system so that it provides an anchor we can all rely on at this turbulent time.
  3. Make sure people can meet their housing costs by temporarily increasing the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) to cover median rents, and completely lifting the national LHA cap to ensure that people in all areas of the country receive extra support to meet their housing costs.

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