Week Ahead: Universal Credit payments to rise as unemployment soars

Chancellor Rishi Sunak gives a press conference about the ongoing situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.(Photo by Matt Dunham - WPA Pool/Getty Images)Chancellor Rishi Sunak gives a press conference about the ongoing situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.(Photo by Matt Dunham - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Chancellor Rishi Sunak gives a press conference about the ongoing situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.(Photo by Matt Dunham - WPA Pool/Getty Images) | 2020 Getty Images
The start of a new tax year will bring about a series of changes designed to reduce the huge economic impact of coronavirus. Chris Burn looks at the Week Ahead.

TAXING TIMES

The beginning of a new tax year has perhaps never been more meaningful as a result of the vast economic impact of the coronavirus lockdown.

Nearly one million people have applied for Universal Credit since the launch of the UK lockdown – ten times the normal number – and from today the standard rate of UC and working tax credits will be increased by £20 by per week for one year as part of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s emergency measures to protect the nation’s finances through a near £7bn boost to welfare payments.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall wave to the crowd during a visit to the Piece Hall. Picture: Peter Bryne/PA WireThe Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall wave to the crowd during a visit to the Piece Hall. Picture: Peter Bryne/PA Wire
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall wave to the crowd during a visit to the Piece Hall. Picture: Peter Bryne/PA Wire

It means a single Universal Credit claimant over the age of 25 will see the standard monthly allowance increased from £317.82 to £409.89 per month.

From today, the Minimum Income Floor (an assumed level of income) will be lifted for self-employed claimants Universal Credit who are required to stay at home or are ill as a result of coronavirus.

Other measures announced include the deferrals of VAT payments due between now and the end of June for businesses, while income tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021, benefitting up to 5.7m self-employed businesses.

National Minimum Wage and state pension increases, already agreed prior to the pandemic, are also coming into force from this week.

A UNIQUE EASTER

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The build-up to Easter has gone under the radar for obvious reasons this year and one of the most important times in the Christian calendar will be marked in a very different way this year.

Hundreds of churches will be live-streaming online services, while on Easter Day itself a special service led by the Archbishop of Canterbury will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 at 8.10am and made available on the Church of England’s Facebook page from 9am.  A special edition of Sunday Worship will air on BBC One, with an Easter service coming from Bangor Cathedral in Wales. And on BBC One, Urbi et Orbi will show Pope Francis deliver his Easter Message and Blessing live from Rome.

Starting from Good Friday, Easter on BBC One sees a brand new religious programme launch, Heavenly Gardens. This new two-part series sees former chorister and garden lover Alexander Armstrong, along with garden designer Arit Anderson, visit six spectacular gardens across the United Kingdom, which are all steeped in faith and spirituality.

Christine Morgan, Head of Radio Religion & Ethics for the BBC, says: “Our aim is to uplift our listeners throughout this important time of year during such unprecedented circumstances.”

TEACHING REMOTELY

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The NASWUT teaching union had been due to hold its annual conference at the International Conference Centre in Birmingham over the weekend.

While that cannot now go ahead at the venue, NASWUT, which is the second largest teaching union in the country, has put in alternative arrangements to hold the conference online, according to TES. On the agenda will be the presentation of the union’s annual report to members and the handing over the role of general secretary from the union’s outgoing leader Chris Keates to incoming leader Patrick Roach.

ROYAL ANNIVERSARY

Thursday will mark the 15th wedding anniversary of Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, who were married in a civil ceremony at the Guildhall, Windsor in 2005.

Charles delivered a message of hope to the nation last week after coming out of self-isolation following his Covid-19 diagnosis, to say the coronavirus outbreak will end and praising the “remarkable NHS” as its staff “battle heroically to save lives”.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Editor’s note: first and foremost - and rarely have I written down these words with more sincerity - I hope this finds you well.

Almost certainly you are here because you value the quality and the integrity of the journalism produced by The Yorkshire Post’s journalists - almost all of which live alongside you in Yorkshire, spending the wages they earn with Yorkshire businesses - who last year took this title to the industry watchdog’s Most Trusted Newspaper in Britain accolade.

And that is why I must make an urgent request of you: as advertising revenue declines, your support becomes evermore crucial to the maintenance of the journalistic standards expected of The Yorkshire Post. If you can, safely, please buy a paper or take up a subscription. We want to continue to make you proud of Yorkshire’s National Newspaper but we are going to need your help.

Postal subscription copies can be ordered by calling 0330 4030066 or by emailing [email protected]. Vouchers, to be exchanged at retail sales outlets - our newsagents need you, too - can be subscribed to by contacting subscriptions on 0330 1235950 or by visiting www.localsubsplus.co.uk where you should select The Yorkshire Post from the list of titles available.

If you want to help right now, download our tablet app from the App / Play Stores. Every contribution you make helps to provide this county with the best regional journalism in the country.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.