A lot can change in a short space of time. No area of life has remained untouched by the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. We have all been affected – some of us socially, financially or physically. Many have tragically lost loved ones. Across the UK, there has been a staggering response to the pandemic. Thousands signed up to volunteer to help the vulnerable, millions of pounds have been raised for the NHS and within days the Government rolled out new measures to help businesses and individuals during this time of uncertainty and turmoil. The UK has truly joined together in unity, and yet there still remains many who we mustn’t overlook and forget.
CAP’s External Affairs team
At CAP, we don’t want to just treat the symptoms of poverty; we also want to address the causes. We don’t want to be people who just help pick up the pieces after this pandemic; we want to ensure that people are protected during this difficult time too. That’s why our External Affairs team is working tirelessly behind the scenes to shape and influence the support offered by firms, regulators and government.
Who has been forgotten?
As people spend much more time at home, living costs – such as food and utility bills – will increase for many. This is why the Government announced a much-needed £20 per week boost for those on Universal Credit and those receiving Tax Credits. But what many won’t realise is that a staggering 2.83 million people will fall through a gap in this vital provision. These people are those who are still receiving ‘old style’ benefits that Universal Credit is designed to replace – things like Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA).
Around one in five of our clients at CAP receive Job Seeker’s Allowance or Employment Support Allowance. These clients will miss out on the Government’s support package, which is worth more than £1,000 over the next twelve months. Social security is designed to be an anchor for people in difficult times, but the coronavirus crisis will push thousands of households to the brink.
Our action plan
It’s crucial that our social security system keeps households afloat during this crisis. Today we released a policy statement listing three further changes we need to see.
We want to see the Government:
- Increase Job Seeker’s Allowance and Employment Support Allowance by £20 per week, in line with the income boost given to Universal Credit and Tax Credit claimants.
- Increase Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rates to the median market rents.
- Suspend the benefit cap during the pandemic.
While we play our part, will you play yours?
Sadly, a lot of CAP clients will be struggling during this time. Last week, we launched our coronavirus emergency appeal to provide vital support for key needs amongst our clients, from emergency food packages to fuel vouchers, to crucial mobile phone credit to help those who are isolated stay connected during this time.
Your generosity was staggering - we reached our target of £80,000 in just four days! This means we can now provide for at least 1,600 families and individuals who are in desperate need during this pandemic - thank you!
But it’s not time to sit back - the impacts on the most vulnerable are going to be long lasting. For some, this will be the tipping point into financial difficulty. We need to ensure we respond now so CAP can be there for them when they dial our helpline in the coming months.
A gift from you today could ensure we can answer the calls of those ringing for help. It could cover the cost of setting up clients’ plans with us after their first appointment, so our teams can draw up a budget and begin the debt free journey with them. Your gift could see someone through from their first phone appointment with a debt coach through to having a complete solution in place.
Will you provide a lifeline of hope during the coronavirus pandemic?