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Opinion : Is enough being done to support people financially during the Coronavirus crisis?

| March 20, 2020


No doubt you have heard about the financial measures the Government is taking to support people during the Coronavirus crisis.

However after hearing the latest support measures announced on Friday 20th March 2020 my good self is left wondering if enough is being done.

Business rates have been waived for the coming year but what about ordinary home owners?

Surely it would be better for the Government to cancel Council Tax payments for the 2020/21 financial year? It would be easy to implement and the Government support money could be sent straight to the local authorities so there is no possibility of misuse of the funds.

Unless my ears are packing up, so far my good self has not heard any support measures aimed at pensioners.

Earlier this week the Bank of England reduced their base rate to just 0.1%, the lowest in history. Many pensioners rely on the interest from their savings and if interest rates are dropping they are likely to be affected.

Why not increase pension payments by £50, £75 or even £100 per week so the elderly have enough money to live on? It would be an easy measure to implement and the money would go straight to those in need.

With the news that schools are to close the parents will need to look after their children who will possibly need more food if they are not having school dinners.

Surely Child Benefit should be increased to take into account the extra costs of looking after the children at home?

A temporary rise of £100 or £200 per month would not only give extra money directly to families but again it would be an easy to implement measure and provide targeted cash to those who need it.

Sadly it seems the Government has arranged for those buying homes to have three month long ‘mortgage holidays’ while providing money to companies to cover 80% of the wages (up to £2,500 per month) of those not at work during the Coronavirus crisis.

However the wage support money will be paid to companies, i.e. third parties, who as my good self understands it are then supposed to pay the funds to their employees. But will they?

I do hope that employers don’t use the cash to prop up their balance sheets instead?

By paying companies rather than the individuals directly there is no way of knowing if the money ever ended up with those who really needed it as the employers will be the ones who distribute the cash.

Will the companies have enough payroll staff to make the adjustments to the pay roll?

Does distributing money this way not require almost every company to ‘fiddle’ abound with financial systems and makes for amazing implementational bureaucracy at a time when staff levels may be low due to illness?

Put simply, in my opinion surely it’s bonkers that anyone could ever consider such a daft and long winded payment scheme at time of crisis. Perhaps that’s the idea, announce a help package that’s so fiendishly hard to implement fully that not everyone gets the help so it doesn’t cost the Government the full amount?

What is being done for those in society who care for elderly family members, etc…. (e.g. carers) and the self employed who don’t earn enough to pay Income Tax or National Insurance?

Where are the support measures for those who earn a living working in the ‘gig economy’?

Unless my eyes are failing me in my old age yours truly hasn’t seen any substantial measures to support any of the three aforementioned groups?

But don’t worry, those with mortgages can now claim a three month mortgage payment holiday as well as getting paid 80% of their wages (up to a maximum of £2,500) for doing nothing. In my opinion if someone gets the 80% ‘wage support’ package they should not be able to claim the ‘mortgage holiday’ too.

No doubt the toilet roll shortage will soon be joined by a shortage of new television sets, designer jewellery and luxury cars as those with houses who can’t work suddenly find themselves with cash to splash as they get 80% of their wages (capped at £2,500) a month for doing nothing and no mortgage to pay – while pensioners struggle to cope….

It’s all very well announcing financial support measures to help citizens but the financial help has to target the needy and less well off in society.

In my opinion Government support measures should only be used to prop-up companies that were, before the chaos started, trading successfully and have filed returns with Companies House that prove this. Should the country really be supporting loss making businesses who are likely to be going bust anyway?

In my opinion, the Government has, so far, implemented the wrong financial support measures handing cash to the wrong elements of society.

If they are not careful they may end up making a disaster out of a crisis….

What do you think?

My blogs are published regularly here on the WycombeToday.com website.

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