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Universal Credit: Covid-19 Income Support Schemes

Volume 680: debated on Monday 14 September 2020

What assessment she has made of the potential effect on universal credit claims of the end of covid-19 income support schemes. (905917)

Since mid-March we have received more than 3 million claims for universal credit, ensuring that people have a welfare safety net in their time of need. I am proud that more than 90% of new eligible claimants were paid in full and on time, proving that universal credit can stand up to the challenge. The Government’s support for people and businesses is not ending, and we are now focused on delivering our plan for jobs. I hope that the hon. Lady will support that plan, particularly the new £2 billion kickstart scheme that will create hundreds of thousands of new, fully subsidised jobs for young people across our country.

I appreciate the Minister’s response, but with coronavirus support schemes being wound down and the Government seemingly unwilling to contemplate their extension, what actual steps is the Minister taking to ensure that towns such as Rotherham are not faced with a generation of mass unemployment, empty shops and closed factories as a result of the pandemic?

The hon. Lady is right to say that the coronavirus job retention scheme has been a huge success—it has protected up to 10 million jobs—but it is important to point out that support for furloughed employees does not end in October. In the Chancellor’s summer statement, he announced the new job retention bonus, which will pay employers £1,000 for every employee still in post by the end of January. For those who, sadly, are made redundant or lose their jobs, Jobcentre Plus stands ready to assist up and down the country.