Bill Scott, Chair of the Poverty and Inequality Commission, has today written to the UK and Scottish Governments to call for further action to reduce the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on people on low incomes.
Commenting on the letters, Bill said:
“The coronavirus outbreak risks driving more people into poverty as those who are sick or self-isolating lose pay. While I welcome the action that has been taken by the UK and Scottish Governments so far, more action is needed to protect the self-employed and low earners, who are least likely to have savings to support them through loss of earnings or a waiting period for Universal Credit.
“That’s why I wrote to Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey calling on her to extend Statutory Sick Pay to the two million workers who earn less than £118 per week and to the self-employed.
“Now that we have moved into the delay phase of the outbreak, I am also asking her to immediately lift work search requirements which may require people to use libraries and other communal settings in order to access a computer. This would reduce the risk of people spreading coronavirus by complying with work search requirements.
“I have also written to the First Minister to ask what contingency plans are in place to ensure that children who would normally receive a free school meal will continue to have access to free meals if a decision is taken to close schools.”
Copies of both letters are attached.