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Opinion : Should those who get financial help during the Covid crisis be the ones who pay for it?

| April 23, 2020

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While some are affected by Covid physically almost all in society are being affected financially.

However the Government has introduced some financial measures to reduce the financial hardship.

‘Mortgage holidays’ have been introduced so those buying homes don’t have to pay repayments for three months.

When the ‘holiday’ is over the repayments will start again and, as my good self understands it, the missed payments will be added to the remaining payments so in effect all remaining future repayments will increase accordingly. The ‘holiday’ is effectively a gift of time and not money.

Then there is the ‘Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’ which pays furloughed workers up to 80% of their wages to a maximum of £2,500 a month. However this is effectively a payment for doing nothing while other workers are still having to work for their money.

The cost of the furlough scheme was estimated to be £30bn to £40bn over three months.

If someone has a mortgage holiday and is not incurring travelling costs to work do they really need 80% of their income? Is the 80% figure too high? Perhaps 50% would have been more reasonable?

So who is going to repay the billions of pounds for money used on the furlough and other Government relief schemes?

The powers that be know who is getting the furlough money as it’s ultimately paid to individuals who have National Insurance numbers and tax records. Should these people be repaying the money given to them though higher taxes targeted directly at those who received the money?

It would mean a ‘two tier’ tax system with different basic and top rates for those who received support and those who didn’t, but surely it would be fair to all?

My good self fears that, in the future, taxes may be raised for everyone in order to repay the cost of the financial support measures. If this happens then surely the ‘key workers’ and NHS staff fighting on the front line will also be penalised too? To me this seems unfair.

Surely those who did not receive relief money should not be asked to repay towards the cost of the relief money either?

Then there is the Business Rate Relief scheme that was introduced a few weeks ago. Who is going to cover that money?

The powers that be will know which businesses that are benefiting from the relief so surely the business who got the benefit should be asked to repay the relief money once the health emergency is over or even in a few years time once the economy has recovered?

In my opinion those who get the financial relief, in whatever form, should be the ones who repay it to the state. Indeed my good self thinks it very unfair if those who ‘slipped through the relief net’ and got nothing were burdened with blanket tax rises to pay for all this.

Instead of so many wild and wacky support schemes, which all too often seem to fail to cover everyone, surely a Universal Basic Income should have been introduced to make sure that everyone was supported? Then everyone could have been taxed evenly and fairly to recoup the money.

What do you think?

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

You can also follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ivor.wycombe or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Ivor_Wycombe.

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