Roundup of recent DWP announcements
Further expansion of access to coronavirus testing
Anyone in England with symptoms of coronavirus who has to leave home to go to work, and all symptomatic members of the public aged 65 and over, will now be able to get tested. This will mean people who cannot work from home and those aged 65 and over can know for sure whether they have coronavirus and need to continue isolating.
Members of their households with symptoms – a new continuous cough or high temperature – will also be eligible for testing. Anyone eligible can book a test using an online portal. The government also announced that NHS staff, care home staff and care home residents will be eligible for testing whether or not they have symptoms.
Statutory Sick Pay webinar
To support businesses and employers HMRC has been offering live webinars on a variety of COVID-19 related topics, including the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) rebate scheme. The webinar provides an overview of the scheme, including who can claim, how to make a claim and keeping records.
You can book places on live HMRC webinars or watch recordings on HMRC’s YouTube channel.
Small business loan scheme
Small businesses are to benefit from a new fast-track finance scheme providing loans with a 100% government-backed guarantee for lenders.
The scheme has been designed to ensure that small firms who need vital cash injections to keep operating can get finance in a matter of days.
Avoid pension scams
As many people may be concerned about the effect the coronavirus pandemic may be having on their future finances, we are sharing tips from our Minister for Pensions to help people avoid pension scams.
- Remember, pensions remain a relatively safe long-term investment, do not make changes in a panic.
- Be wary of anyone offering “get rich quick” schemes – investments that sound too good to be true often are.
- Seek free and independent guidance from organisations such as Pension Wise and the Pensions Advisory Service.
- If you do want to make changes and need financial advice use a Financial Conduct Authority-authorised financial adviser.
Learn how to protect yourself from pensions scams by visiting the ScamSmart website. And if you suspect a scam, you can report it to Action Fraud.
The Department for Education has launched The Skills Toolkit, which allows adults to access free, high quality online courses whilst at home. This will enable them to build new skills and help boost growth and productivity.
The Skills Toolkit is available to everyone and consists of digital and numeracy courses, ranging from basic to more advanced levels. These are skills that are sought after for many types of jobs, with 82% of job vacancies requiring digital skills.
The National Careers Service
The National Careers Service provides free and impartial careers information, advice and guidance to adults and young people to support their decision making about learning and work.
During COVID-19, they are able to support workers currently furloughed and those looking for work in a range of ways:
- identifying skills and strengths
- exploring career options
- CV advice and guidance
- interview hints and tips
- exploring training and volunteering opportunities.
To book a free and impartial appointment with a professional Careers Adviser call 0800 100 900. Lines are open 7 days a week from 8am – 10pm.
Ramadan at Home campaign
Staying at home during Ramadan will play an important part in the nation’s effort to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), is the message from health experts and Muslim leaders as communities celebrate the holy month.
Please support the campaign by downloading the materials from the Public Health England Resource Centre and sharing to get the message across.