Government announces Universal Credit and Job Centre changes amid Coronavirus
11 March 2020, 13:28 | Updated: 17 March 2020, 16:41
Budget 2020: Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has announced changes to the welfare system as Coronavirus sweeps the country.
The government today announced plans to ensure financial help for people not entitled to sick pay amid increasing concerns about Coronavirus.
This comes just days after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that workers will be able to claim sick pay from day one if they are forced to self-isolate because of Coronavirus - but it wasn't clear before today how self-employed people and those working in the gig economy would cope financially.
Delivering his budget in the House of Commons, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said that new measures will mean those who fall under the above category will be able to claim benefits more easily - and they will be able to do so from day one.
He said: "To support them during this period [the self-employed and gig economy workers], we will make it quicker and easier to access benefits. They will be able to claim from day one instead of day eight."
He also added that "time off work due to sickness will be reflected in benefits", and that he will be removing the minimum income floor to Universal Credit."
In addition, it was announced that it will be easier to claim benefits, as people will be able to claim them over the phone rather than go in Job Centres.
He also announced that a £500million hardship fund will be distributed to local authorities to help them deliver these new measures.
The number of confirmed Coronavirus cases in the UK at the time of writing is 375, and six people have died from the illness in the country.