Vital help needed for the self-employed

Esther McVey welcomed measures announced by Government to plough money into the NHS and to support staff and businesses but urged more action in this unprecedented time. Chancellor Rishi Sunak has come under pressure to set out what Government will do to support self-employed workers affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter to the Chancellor Ms McVey set out measures she wanted to see announced, particularly around self-employed workers. Included was the idea that up to 80 per cent of the income declared on the last tax return for self-employed workers up to a maximum set limit, similar to that of business aid. 

Ms McVey said: “The support for the self-employed has so far not been nearly as generous as other support provided to businesses. Self-employed workers are vital to the economy and make up a significant part of the workforce. This virus is affecting everyone and it is only right that we help where we can. We are asking people to stay inside to stop the spread of the virus and people are doing everything they can to protect each other in these unprecedented times. We therefore have a duty to help and I want the Chancellor to set out exactly what can be done to help self-employed.”

Mr Sunak has already announced government will pay the wages of employees unable to work due to the pandemic. The move aimed at protecting jobs will see 80 per cent of salary for staff who are kept on by their employers, covering wages up to £2,500 a month.

The Chancellor said the move would mean workers should be able to keep their jobs, even if their employer could not afford to pay them. He said they were "unprecedented measures for unprecedented times."

Ms McVey added: “The Chancellor and the Health Secretary rightly has said the NHS will get the resources it needs to deal with this pandemic and I welcome that assurance and want to thank the NHS staff for the tireless work they are doing to protect lives. Rishi Sunak was right to help businesses keep staff in these unprecedented times as everything possible must be done to protect jobs and it is clear Government understand this. There are lots of things that will help families in the months ahead and I hope in the coming days measures for the self-employed will be set out as I know Government values them and the work they do.”

Other measures announced by the Chancellor include deferring VAT payments, interest free grants to small businesses, help for renters and an increase in Universal Credit.

For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19