Martin Lewis on the ‘important change’ to Universal Credit as he addresses self-employed

Martin Lewis is a figure who many people may be looking to as the coronavirus pandemic impacts on people’s financial situation. Today, the founder of Money Saving Expert took to Twitter to share a video, which saw him directly address options for the self-employed.


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During his message, the financial journalist told viewers that the Government have confirmed to him that they are working on a “support package” for the self-employed right now.

Mr Lewis explained he currently wasn’t sure about what this package would be, but suggested it may be that there is an announcement on the matter this week.

“Hold on, don’t make drastic changes yet – wait to see what that support package is. There is going to be a change, so hold on please.”

The financial journalist then explained a second point, and referred to temporary measures which have already been announced in a bid to help people cope during this unprecedented time.

“If you’ve got money put aside, for tax, you’re allowed to defer your self-assessment payment by six months – which could give you some cash flow,” he explained.

“There have been changes to Employment Support Allowance. It’s not much, which will give you the equivalent – if you’re self-employed and sick – to Statutory Sick Pay.

“And there have been changes to Universal Credit. Now, these have been widely ‘poo-pooed’ because people have seen the headline figure of £1,000 extra to Universal Credit.”

Mr Lewis added: “But I think the more important change there is the change to the Housing Payment within Universal Credit which can work for private renters and interest on mortgages, and various other housing payments, and that has increased quite substantially.”

He went on to explain how this is affecting some people in practice.

“Now, I’ve seen some examples of total Universal Credit on the back of that, that can mean people getting over £1,500 a month,” Mr Lewis said.

“And Universal Credit isn’t taxed so that’s tax-free which is actually getting quite close to that employees’ payment that is available.”

Mr Lewis also highlighted a number of other measures, and urged them to find out more via the Money Saving Expert website.

“There are of course all the standard measures – the mortgage payments, the help for renters that apply to everybody regardless of your employment,” he said.


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Last night, Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivered the news of draconion measures being taken in order to attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the UK.

As of 9am on March 24, 2020, a total of 90,436 people have been tested for the virus, of which 8,077 were confirmed positive.

Of these, 422 patients in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) have died.

The Prime Minister said last night: “From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home,” he said during his statement last night.

“Because the critical thing we must do is stop the disease spreading between households.

“That is why people will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes – shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible, one form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household, any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.

“That’s all – these are the only reasons you should leave your home.

“You should not be meeting friends. If your friends ask you to meet, you should say No.

“You should not be meeting family members who do not live in your home.

“You should not be going shopping except for essentials like food and medicine — and you should do this as little as you can. And use food delivery services where you can.

“If you don’t follow the rules the police will have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.”

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