Government Urged to Deliver on Promises to Help Self Employed

March 23, 2020

The government and the prime minister are being urged to deliver on promises made in recent days to provide financial support to self-employed people who are fearful of the future amid the coronavirus crisis.

As many as five million people are classed as being self-employed in the UK and many of them have suffered steep declines in their earnings as the COVID-19 outbreak has taken hold.

The government has pledged to cover 80 per cent of the wages of people who are employed by companies and other organisations but similar promises have yet to be made in relation to the self-employed.

For a lot of self-employed people, the situation they’re currently facing is extremely worrying, with the coronavirus crisis meaning they can no longer earn any money at all even as their bills continue to stack up.

The only options so far available to people in that situation have been to claim statutory sick pay, worth £94 per week, or to apply for Universal Credit, which typically involves at least a five-week wait for initial payments.

A variety of organisations have called on the government to do more to financially support the millions of self-employed individuals across the country and to take steps to safeguard at least some of their income if they’ve suddenly become unable to work.

Mike Cherry, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, has said he’s heard from thousands of self-employed people, including childcare providers, hairdressers, taxi drivers, café owners and others, who have suddenly seen their businesses fall away.

“We have been strongly urging the government not to allow the self-employed to be left high and dry, and it is welcome to hear that the prime minister is listening and offering hope,” Mr Cherry said.

“This must now be turned urgently into practical and easily accessible support. Time is now running out,” he said.

“While the government has a big role to play, it is also vital that the banks play their part as well,” he added.

“Billions of pounds of loan guarantees come into effect on Monday (March 23rd), and the banks must pass on without delay this access to finance for the struggling self-employed.”

Paul Barber

Head Adviser at our Manchester Office

Tel: 0800 001 4247
Email: enquiries@ukdebt.org.uk

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