Develop strategies for long-term tailored support of people and business

It is clear that the coronavirus situation is going to have long-term impact, with each decision and change having a whole string of ramifications. Much of the conversation currently seems to be short-term, with little sense of how support will be implemented long-term. Some areas which merit consideration:

- seasonal businesses and those who work in them are losing not only their current income, but also the surplus that allows them to survive the winter. Just because restrictions lift doesn't mean those businesses will spring back to breaking even, let alone profit. Some will need support well into 2021.

- similarly, just because a business can re-open doesn't mean they will see sufficient trade to afford to pay all their employees. The furlough scheme needs to continue in order to reflect the likely slow return to profitability. Likewise the self-employed in badly affected industries will not see their income return until the industry recovers.

- childcare is already posing a challenge, and will continue to do so as and when businesses try to reopen. Employees with children are at a huge disadvantage in terms of being able to continue working productively (whether that's from home or not). Small companies with even just one or two employees who have children could find themselves struggling to operate. Until all childcare / school facilities are re-opened, there should be a scheme similar to furloughing allowing parents to cut their hours and have the balance of salary covered by the government (eg a couple both supposed to be working 8 hours a day, could do 4 hours a day each paid by their company, with the other 4 hours paid by the government). This would also benefit children, whose parents would be able to fully focus on them without the strain of having to work a full-time job as well.

- with multiple schemes being introduced very quickly, many people have fallen through the cracks of support. There needs to be a means for these people to have their situation looked at, as many will fall within the spirit of what is intended. For example, seasonal workers who were not yet on payroll on 19th March (whose jobs in effect never started) and the self-employed who started trading at the end of the 2018/19 tax year.

- a universal basic income would help address many of these issues (as long as it actually allows people to survive), as well as helping with situations of poverty which existed long before the start of the pandemic. It would also relieve the economic arguments for changing lockdown restrictions, and allow them to be based solely on physical and mental health considerations.

Why the contribution is important

The economic impact of this will be felt long-term, and the current short-term measures are not sufficient to mitigate this.

by LBennitt on May 10, 2020 at 11:47AM

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