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Legal Profession: Coronavirus

Question for Treasury

UIN HL3640, tabled on 28 April 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken, if any, to support (1) female, (2) BAME, and (3) new practising, lawyers who have been affected by a loss of earnings as a result of COVID-19 prior to the furlough payments being released.

Answered on

14 May 2020

HM Treasury pays careful regard to the equality impacts of policy decisions relating to the Covid-19 outbreak, in line with legal requirements and the Government’s commitment to promoting equality. There are internal procedural requirements and support in place for ensuring that such considerations inform decisions taken by ministers.

HMRC developed and delivered the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme at record speed to ensure employers received payments by the end of April. Affected employers may also be able to benefit from other schemes and measures such as the VAT deferral, Local Authority grants, and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) which provides Government guarantees for bank loans to firms with turnover up to £45m.

Measures to assist easing the financial burden on legal aid providers have already been implemented to alleviate short term cashflow issues, including by ensuring prompt payment by the Legal Aid Agency. Where appropriate, the Government has ensured that fee schemes are suitable for the change to virtual hearings, and the Government has agreed to relax the rules on the payment of Hardship claims in the Crown Court. In addition, the Government has issued guidance to providers to ensure they are able to claim for their existing work in progress.

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