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The Progressive Policy Think Tank

Protect people, not just firms, urges IPPR amid escalating coronavirus response

Reacting to the Chancellor’s additional measures, the progressive think tank calls for action to get urgent cash into people’s pockets 

Following the Chancellor’s joint press conference with the Prime Minister, the progressive think tank has urged him to take greater action to protect people, not just firms. 

This call comes as seven million people in work are not covered by statutory sick pay, five million of which are self-employed and two million don’t qualify due to low incomes. At the same time, statutory sick pay is just 30 per cent of the average UK salary, making it insufficient to cover living costs and bills, according to IPPR. 

Carys Roberts, IPPR Director, said: 

“At today’s press conference, the Chancellor said he would do ‘whatever it takes’, but so far his measures are falling short of what is needed to avert an economic crash and support people.  

“This announcement offered virtually nothing to the seven million people who are self-employed or earn too little to qualify for statutory sick pay. The Chancellor is also yet to make a bold decision on how to support firms to pay their employees. By contrast, other governments have already moved fast to offer comprehensive employee support schemes, now the UK government must act fast to also guarantee significant support.

“The Chancellor’s measures to protect businesses are welcome, but they do not go far enough at this moment of national emergency - healthy businesses mustn’t become casualties of this crisis. £330 billion is a significant aid for corporates, but this will further increase firms’ debt and does little to boost demand or to take the pressure off businesses in the long term. The government needs to urgently put cash directly into people’s pockets. This will help people to pay their bills, prevent economic demand collapsing and ensure everyone is secure enough to follow the government guidance to help stop the virus spreading.” 

“A human and economic disaster can be avoided, but the Chancellor needs to act swiftly to do so for both people and firms.”  



David Wastell, Head of News and Communications: [email protected]  

Robin Harvey, Digital and Media Officer: [email protected]  

Carys Roberts is available for comment and broadcast interview 


  1. IPPR is the UK’s pre-eminent progressive think tank. With more than 40 staff in offices in London, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh, IPPR is Britain’s only national think tank with a truly national presence.