Martin Lewis questioned the logic of Rishi Sunak’s decision, stating that it does not follow the previous policy. However, the Chancellor stated during The Martin Lewis Money Show, Live on ITV at 8.30pm tonight, that improving the access to the grant was the reason for delaying the start date.
Mr Lewis said: “I have got a tweet here from Fi: Why, why, why isn’t the fourth grant for SEISS available now? Late April will leave me homeless.
“You have delayed this and I would have expected it to be next week when people can apply.
“Why is it the end of April that you’re going to start paying people?”
Mr Sunak replied: “Well the simple reason is the grant covers the period for February to April so people will need to have a sense of their circumstances over that period.”
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Mr Lewis interjected: “Hold on. In past grants you’ve done three-month periods and you’ve done it at the beginning, so that logic doesn’t follow.”
Mr Sunak said: “The difference this time is we’re making an improvement in access to the grant.
“We want to bring in all of those people who have filed tax returns for 19/20 and that means we need to have those come in, and I think you also were keen for us to extend or make some flexibility around the deadline which we did.
“And that has meant that we need a little bit of extra time to process all of that to do the grants.
Mr Sunak responded: “Well first of all, I wouldn’t think it’s fair to say that they’re completely without support.
“There’s so many different things we’ve done… they could be furloughed for their PAYE income.
“Their business may be able to benefit from a bounceback loan and in their personal situation they may have been able to benefit from a six-month mortgage holiday and also there’s all the other welfare changes we’ve made.
He added: “So there’s a lot going on there, but the simple thing with directors, it’s been a real challenge and I, my team, my ministerial colleague have met with groups and looked at options and there just isn’t a workable option.”