Letters - Monday, March 30, 2020

Thank you to the NHS during the Coronavirus pandemicThank you to the NHS during the Coronavirus pandemic
Thank you to the NHS during the Coronavirus pandemic
Some plus points to terrible virus spread

Every situation in life has pluses and minuses, and here are a few of the pluses regarding the coronavirus.

1. People are stockpiling food, yes, but because they don’t know how long quarantine (or lock down) will last, they will be using less resulting in gradual weight loss.

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2. Families having to spend time in each other’s company might, through talking, get a better understanding of what makes each other tick, learn of the fears, likes and dislikes, ambitions and perhaps lead to a more caring society on the whole. 3. The reduction in air and car travel will help global warming, albeit for only a few months, but the result of that will give scientists a lot of valuable information.

4. As we perhaps become bored, we’ll look out of the window and see the opening buds of spring, the colours of nature and realise how lucky we are to have such a wonderful world.

5. People take each other for granted, coronavirus shows how vulnerable we are, and makes us realise how precious friends and family are.

6. It will make us take stock of our lives ie how we have become slaves to modern technology, resulting in having to rush here, there and everywhere. We shall be forced to slow down, resulting in less stress, normal heartbeat and a calmer mind.

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7. Books and music will be important, as both can take us into another world.

8. It will result in people being more creative, painting pictures, writing stories and poetry etc, decorating, gardening.

9. It is already showing signs of neighbours pulling together to help the elderly and each other.

It will certainly change mindsets.

Mrs J Geddes

Whitemoss Avenue



Details of help for the self-employed

I am grateful to many constituents for getting in touch with me recently, regarding their legitimate concerns about the need for the Government to provide support for self-employed people, during this terrible Corona Virus (Covid-19) outbreak.

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As I have said many times before, as your local MP, I am completely on your side on this matter. I believe that self-employed people are the backbone of our economy and the government has a duty to help them during this difficult period.

The impact on the livelihood and income of many self-employed people is no different than of those working for companies and I believe they should receive the support they need.

You can be assured that I will continue to do all I can to support self-employed constituents and have been pushing the Government to make a decision on this issue, including writing an urgent letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, The Rt. Hon. Rishi Sunak MP, only last week, as well as submitting some Parliamentary Questions on the issue.

So I was very glad to see the Chancellor announce a new ‘Self-Employed Income Support Scheme’.

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I hope that this scheme will be greatly reassuring to many of those who have contacted me about this issue.

Through this scheme, the Government will pay self-employed people a grant worth 80 per cent of their average monthly profits over the last three years, up to £2,500 a month.

This is unlike almost any other country and makes the UK scheme one of the most generous in the world.

The scheme will only be open to those with trading profits up to £50,000, which is around 95 per cent of self-employed people, so the vast majority will be eligible for the scheme.

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This cut off will be disappointing to some, but the reasoning behind it is to ensure that support is given to those who are most in need.

HMRC will also ask people to demonstrate that the majority of their income comes from self-employment and to minimise fraud, only those who have a tax return for 2019, will be able to apply.

The scheme will initially be open for three months, but may be extended for longer if necessary. Self-employed people who are eligible will be contacted by HMRC directly, asked to fill out a simple online form and HMRC will then pay the grant directly into their bank account. The Government expect people to be able to access the scheme by the beginning of June.

I know that June may be a long way off for many self-employed people to wait to receive financial aid, so HMRC are working day and night to get this scheme up and running, but unfortunately setting up new schemes is a complex operational business and does take time.

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The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme also allows late tax filers one month to get their 2018-19 tax returns in within four weeks of the announcement of the scheme, which also creates some delay.

I know there are challenging times ahead, but I hope that the measures announced will support millions of self-employed workers to get through this national crisis.

May I wish you and your loved ones all the very best during this very difficult time for our nation.

We will get through this, but we must all be strong in the weeks ahead.

Please stay safe at home and help protect the NHS and save lives.

Scott Benton MP

Blackpool South