Boris Johnson makes false claim about maximum wage under new Covid-19 furlough scheme

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (left) and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak leave 10 Downing Str

Prime minister Boris Johnson (left) and chancellor Rishi Sunak leave 10 Downing Street London, ahead of a Cabinet meeting at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. - Credit: PA

Boris Johnson has incorrectly claimed that "whatever happens" furloughed workers were entitled "93% of their current income".

The prime minister told the Commons on Wednesday that workers under a tier 3 lockdown can expect to receive a significant portion of their salary.

Addressing MPs during Prime Minister's Questions, Johnson said misleadingly that "whatever happens, a combination of the Job Support Scheme and Universal Credit will mean that nobody gets less than 93% of their current income."

But not every furloughed worker is entitled to that amount.

To achieve the "93%" parity, people will have to sign up to the Job Support Scheme (JSS), which covers 67% of a person's wage, and Universal Credit, which will top up the rest.


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However, Universal Credit is only available to people with an income below £16,000, or if their partner has less than £16,000 in savings.

Household income is also another aspect. If one person at home has their income cut to 67% while the other's remains untouched, they will then be ineligible for a top up.

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Furthermore, some people will get less than 67% of their wage under the JSS, because it is capped at £2,100 a month.

The JSS is only open to workers whose businesses are forced to shut due to government lockdown restrictions, and not to those that remain open but are hit with less invasive measures.

The scheme is also not open to the self-employed.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Jonathan Reynolds tweeted: "The PM’s response to this was factually wrong.

"What about those with savings? What about fact JSS is capped at £2,100 a month? What about it not being open to self employed?"

This comes after work and pensions secretary Therese Coffey repeatedly refused to say if she could live on the £5.84-an-hour wage paid by the government's new furlough scheme.

She told Sky News: "I think the question is the welfare safety net will actually help top that up through the Universal Credit system. If that’s your sole source of income then that will be the way to try and get support.

"£5.84 an hour is an amount that is there that can be topped up by Universal Credit."

Labour's Angela Rayner tweeted: "So out of touch. Give me strength."

Shay Perera wrote: "I believe the sentence she is looking for is 'no, no one can.'"

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