Matt Hancock has admitted that he would not be able to live on statutory sick pay, currently set at just over £94 per week, though the government has not committed to increasing it.
Appearing on BBC Question Time on Thursday evening, which was held without a studio audience, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady quizzed the Health Secretary on SSP.
Hancock answered “no”. He added that he didn’t expect people to live on the sick pay benefit, before suggesting that the government needs to support businesses to support their workers.
Hancock said: “We’ve got to support everybody. And support both businesses to help support their staff. We want businesses to support their staff because the best thing is if people stay in employment.”
“How do we make sure that we don’t just bail out the boardroom, we’ve got to bail out workers”
— BBC Question Time (@bbcquestiontime) March 19, 2020
The level of statutory sick pay is currently set at £94.25 per week, and it is paid by employers for a period of up to 28 weeks, after which people need to claim out of work benefits.
Following the outbreak of coronavirus, the government announced that people would be able to claim sick pay from day one rather than having to wait until the fourth day under the previous system.
But there are an estimated two million people in the UK who are ineligible for sick pay because there is a lower earnings limit in place that excludes some of the lowest paid.