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Britain increases benefit pay in response to coronavirus

LONDON, March 20 (Reuters) - Britain is increasing the level of its main state-paid benefit, finance minister Rishi Sunak said on Friday, unveiling a package of measures to support workers and those who may lose their jobs during the coronavirus outbreak.

"I'm increasing today the universal credit standard allowance for the next 12 months by 1,000 pounds a year. For the next 12 months, I'm increasing the working tax credit basic element by the same amount as well. Together the measures will benefit over 4 million of our most vulnerable households," Sunak said.

Sunak added that Britain would also suspend the minimum income floor for self-employed people affected by the economic impact of coronavirus, meaning that they could access universal credit at a rate equivalent to statutory sick pay for workers. (Reporting by Costas Pitas and Paul Sandle, writing by Alistair Smout; editing by Stephen Addison)