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Citizens Advice responds to today's Budget announcements on sick pay and benefits

Citizens Advice has welcomed the announcement today by Chancellor Rishi Sunak of extensions to statutory sick pay. But the charity warns the coronavirus outbreak has exposed "long-standing flaws and inconsistencies" in the sick pay and benefits systems. 

Dame Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“The Chancellor’s decision to extend statutory sick pay to those self-isolating will be a relief to some workers. But the self-employed and people in the 1.5 million jobs that don’t qualify for sick pay are still at risk of falling through the gaps if they become unwell. 

“We’re pleased to see the waiting period for contributory Employment and Support Allowance has been removed, but we know those who need to apply for Universal Credit will still face a lengthy wait for a full payment and could be pushed into debt as a result.

“This unprecedented situation has exposed the long-standing flaws and inconsistencies in our sick pay and benefits systems. While today’s measures are encouraging, the government needs to take a longer term view and build on them to ensure our social safety net is fit for purpose.”