Chancellor urged to address ‘inequity’ in support for self-employed workers

Chancellor urged to address ‘inequity’ in support for self-employed workers

The Creative Industries Federation is among 30 trade bodies to write to the UK chancellor Rishi Sunak calling for a temporary income protection fund to benefit freelancers and the self-employed.

The self-employed sector of the economy was notably absent from unprecedented measures announced last week to protect Britain’s employers and employees from the worst ravages of the coronavirus crisis - an oversight which it is now hoped will be addressed.

On Friday Sunak pledged to cover 80% of the salary of all workers impacted by the coronavirus, in a bid to persuade employers not to lay off staff.

In a statement, the Federation wrote: “The package of support for employers and employees announced on Friday 20th March was unprecedented and welcome.

“However, it creates a worrying inequity between those who now have their income secured and the UK’s five million self-employed workers who are left despondent. Whilst employees are entitled to claim 80% of their monthly salary up to £2,500, by contrast self-employed workers are eligible for just £408 per month of government support via Universal Credit.”

In response, the federation is calling for all self-employed workers to be paid a monthly income matching their average existing earnings over the past three years, with a minimum bound set by the Real Living Wage (£1,100) and a cap put in place at average UK earnings after the basic rate of income tax is applied (£1,800).

Last week The Drum produced a detailed resource for freelancers seeking to ride out the coronavirus downturn.

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