Treasury says poorest working households gained in lockdown

The UK’s poorest working households were alone in making income gains during the coronavirus lockdown, as they benefited from a multibillion pound boost to welfare benefits, according to Treasury analysis released on Wednesday.

The finance ministry’s calculations also suggested that the government’s furlough, or job retention, scheme had offset hypothetical earnings losses to a surprisingly equal extent across income groups. 

The findings were unexpected because most previous studies had shown that the poor were likely to have been hardest hit by the pandemic.

The Treasury assessed the impact of government support against the effect of earnings and job losses, comparing incomes in May to what they were in February. 

Looking at the income that households accrued between March, when most of the UK economy shut down, and the end of May, the bottom decile saw an overall gain of about 4 per cent.

The Treasury said government interventions since March

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Lockdown heroes: will the low-paid ever get a raise?

“Hero pay”, it was dubbed. When coronavirus took hold in the US in March, Christian Zamarrón and his colleagues at an Amazon delivery centre in Chicago were given an extra $2 an hour — a reward for being thrust into the frontline of America’s pandemic response.

In June, Amazon withdrew the extra pay — one of a number of companies to do so. A few weeks before, Mr Zamarrón says, the company handed out free T-shirts. One was emblazoned with a single word: “Hero”.

Mr Zamarrón was one of the leaders of a series of protests over claims that Amazon was doing too little to protect its workers — part of a burst in labour activism during the coronavirus crisis.

The New Social Contract

Coronavirus has exposed the frailties of our economic and social model. In a series of articles this week, the FT explores the problems and difficult solutions

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Coronavirus: Israel government reimposes lockdown measures after spike in cases | World News

Israel’s government has ordered the immediate closure of bars, gyms, nightclubs, swimming pools and event halls after a spike in coronavirus cases.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was necessary because the country was close to requiring another total lockdown.

“The pandemic is spreading – that’s as clear as day. It is rising daily… it is dragging with it, contrary to what we had been told, a trail of critically ill patients,” Mr Netanyahu told the cabinet.

Israel has been reporting around 1,000 new cases a day recently – higher than during the peak of the initial outbreak.

The decision also restricts people at restaurants to 20 inside and 30 outside, while only 19 worshippers will be allowed in synagogues.

Benjamin Netanyahu warned that Israel was close to needing another blanket lockdown

Buses will be capped at 20 passengers, with open windows and no air conditioning, reported The Times

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Coronavirus: Businessman loses legal fight over ‘draconian’ lockdown | Business News

A millionaire businessman has lost his bid to bring a High Court challenge against the government over the coronavirus crisis lockdown.

Entrepreneur Simon Dolan, whose interests span accountancy to motor sport, raised more than £200,000 via crowdfunding to seek a judicial review of the restrictions of movement imposed in England in March to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Mr Dolan vowed to continue with the case as the lockdown was gradually eased ahead of his day in court last week.

June: Dolan explains his lockdown legal action

Judgment was reserved until Monday.

He had told Sky’s Ian King Live programme at the time the legal action was launched in June that his aim was to have the rules declared illegal and to “get Britain back and working”.

He wrote on his Crowdjustice page: “We believe that the govt has acted illegally and disproportionately over the COVID -19 lockdown and

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