We must support the self-employed

Last week, the Government set out a package of financial measures to support UK workers, highlighting just how threatening coronavirus is to our economy and our society.

As soon as these measures were announced, Liberal Democrats stated our concerns that far too little was being provided to help the self-employed through this crisis. Days later, and no new support has been announced by the Government.

“The 5 million self-employed people across the country are in real stress & deeply worried. In many cases, they are simply running out of money.”-@EdwardJDavey

With so many set to be dependent on this support for a period of time, it’s vital we ensure they receive enough money. pic.twitter.com/96W3ysQmf5

Liberal Democrats (@LibDems) March 24, 2020

There are five million self-employed people in the UK. These are our construction workers, our childminders and our delivery drivers.

Each day that we fail to take action to protect the self-employed, millions of people remain worried and unsure of how they are going to support themselves or their families. Leaving them with no reliable safety net is unacceptable.

Ministers cannot keep hiding from the insecurity these individuals have been put in by the coronavirus crisis. It is not good enough to say it is “operationally difficult” to pay them.

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The Liberal Democrats have put down amendments to the Government’s coronavirus legislation to support the self-employed. They are:

  • increasing the weekly rate of Statutory Sick Pay from £94.25 to £220

  • guaranteeing 80% of self-employed individuals’ earnings, up to £35,000