With schools and nurseries closing and people facing lay-offs and cuts in pay, hard-up Brits need more help to get their families through the corona crisis, Save the Children is warning.
The charity is urging the government to adopt a National Plan for Family Finances to support families by protecting jobs and strengthening sick pay and other benefits.
Kirsty McNeill, Campaigns Director at Save the Children, said:
“Even before coronavirus, four million children lived in poverty. Plenty parents know the headaches of juggling growing bills and shrinking pay.
“Boris Johnson has rightly stepped in to stop firms going under, but we need the same determination to support families facing tough times.”
The National Plan calls for greater support for families in three key areas:
- Protecting jobs through the introduction of what economists at the Resolution Foundation -- a think tank that aims to improve standards of living -- have called ’retention pay’. Similar to maternity pay, the government would help keep people on a company’s payroll, even if there was no work for a while. And support to companies should come with the condition that they keep people in their jobs as long as possible.
- Protecting pay for those who suddenly find themselves looking after their kids, elderly loved ones or somebody sick, and a guarantee that nobody will lose their family home.
- Strengthening the safety net for people who need the welfare state – improving sick pay and fixing the five-week wait for Universal Credit.
Kirsty McNeill said:
“This national plan could begin to give parents the kind of reassurance they need to be a calmer presence for their children. Even the youngest children will understand something scary is happening as they stop going to nursery, school or visits to grandparents. Keeping them safe, happy and learning should be at the heart of the government’s thinking in the days and weeks to come.
“The national plan isn’t all that’s needed, but it is needed. All over the country people are doing their best and doing their bit. Now is the time for the government to give as much help to families as we’re already giving to each other.”
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