Basingstoke MP Maria Miller has emphasised the importance of helping those in unemployment find work in 2021 after the economic difficulties faced this year.
Maria said, ‘Since March 2020, claimants of Universal Credit have risen sharply as the Coronavirus pandemic has shaken our economy. As we move into 2021, it remains the Government’s top priority to protect people’s jobs during Coronavirus and support those looking to return to employment.
‘Local groups in Basingstoke are doing fantastic work to support people and business in this tough time. Alongside the support that Job Centre Plus continue to give to people seeking work, I recently met with the M3 Job Club to discuss their fantastic voluntary work helping people find work. The process of finding a job can really take its toll and leave people feeling isolated, so it’s great to see community groups like the M3 Job Club offer its professional skills to help people find work.’
‘The Government has already taken extraordinary measures to protect jobs, including extending the furlough scheme until March 2021, providing help to the self-employed and offering a range of business grants and loans. I also really welcome the Government’s Kickstart scheme which has provided funding to create thousands of job placements for 16 - 24 year olds on Universal Credit.’
M3 Job Club: https://m3jobclub.co.uk/
Claimant count data:
- There were 3,600 actual claimants in Basingstoke constituency in November 2020, which was 4.9% of the population aged 16-64. The equivalent UK claimant rate was 6.3%. This was 25 higher than October 2020 and 2,015 higher than March 2020, before the UK lockdown began.
As part of the government's response to COVID-19, a number of enhancements were introduced to Universal Credit. These may have increased the number of employed people eligible for Universal Credit due to their earnings falling below income thresholds.
As a result, while some of the increase in the Claimant Count will be due to people who have become unemployed, some will also be due to employed people who have become eligible for Universal Credit as part of the government response.
Government’s Coronavirus support for families and businesses
- Extending furlough until the end of March for all parts of the United Kingdom. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be extended to cover the new restrictions with employees receiving 80 per cent of their current salary for hours not worked, up to £2,500 a month. Businesses will have flexibility to bring furloughed employees back to work on a part time basis or furlough them full-time. For those who have recently been made redundant (since 23 September), they can be rehired and furloughed by their employer.
- Confirming that Job Retention Bonus will not be paid in February –and a retention incentive will be redeployed at the appropriate time. The purpose of the bonus was to encourage employers to keep people in work until the end of January. However, as furlough is being extended to the end of March, the policy intent of the Job Retention Bonus falls away.
- Providing more support for self-employed people across the United Kingdom. The Government will provide even more generous support to the self-employed by increasing the support to the self-employed from 40 per cent of trading profits to 80 per cent for November, December and January. These grants are calculated over three months, meaning the maximum grant will increase to £7,500. This is £7.3 billion of support to the self-employed through November to January alone, with a further grant to follow covering February to April. This comes on top of £13 billion of support provided to between 2.5 million and 3 million self-employed people so far, one of the most comprehensive and generous support packages for the self-employed anywhere in the world.
- Extending the application deadline for loan guarantee schemes –that is, the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, and Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme –to the end of January 2021. This will give businesses two extra months to make loan applications (relative to the previous deadline of 30 November).
- Adjusting the Bounce Back Loan Scheme rules to allow those businesses who have borrowed less than their maximum (i.e. less than 25 per cent of their turnover) to top-up their existing loan. Businesses will be able to take-up this option from next week; they can make use of this option once. The Government understands that some businesses did not anticipate the disruption to their business from the pandemic would go on for this long; this will ensure that they are able to benefit from the loan scheme as intended.
- Extending mortgage holidays. Mortgage holiday will be extended to reassure homeowners. These were due to end on 31 October, but borrowers who have been impacted by coronavirus and have not yet had a mortgage payment holiday will be entitled to a six month holiday, and those that have already started a mortgage payment holiday will be able to top up to six months without this being recorded on their credit file.
- Supporting businesses forced to close. Business premises which are legally forced to close to receive grants worth up to £3,000 per month in England. This is worth over £1 billion a month with the new restrictions in place and will benefit over 600,000 business premises.
- Supporting wet pubs with grants of £1,000. As the Prime Minister announced, a one-off payment of £1,000 in December will be given to wet pubs, recognising how hard they have been hit by this virus in what is typically their busiest month.
- Providing additional support for local authorities. £1.1 billion will also be provided to Local Authorities to enable them to support businesses which are not forced to close but are facing reduced demand due to the new national restrictions.
- Increasing the upfront guarantee of funding for the devolved administrations from £14 billion to £16 billion, as we are committed to supporting workers, business and individuals in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Devolved administrations have been provided with unprecedented upfront funding guarantees above their Spring Budget 2020 funding so they have the certainty they need to decide how and when to provide support. A guarantee of at least £16 billion in funding this year is also due on top of their Spring Budget 2020 funding: Scottish Government –£8.2 billion, Welsh Government –£5.0 billion, Northern Ireland Executive –£2.8 billion.
- Announcing £134 million in funding to keep UK’s greenest, most innovative businesses thriving during coronavirus pandemic. This funding will be used to help fund over 1,000 ground-breaking new technologies, helping to secure and create new jobs. The projects successful in receiving this funding are focused on vital clean growth projects which will help us develop new technologies to help tackle climate change.