RISHI Sunak has been warned that thousands of hairdressers, driving instructors, musicians, retailers and events organisers will lose their livelihoods unless he extends the self-employed bailout scheme.
A new survey given to The Sun exposes how self-employed workers are significantly more likely to work in industries that will be shut the longest.
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The Chancellor has so far refused to give any assurances that the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme will continue beyond June.
The scheme provides a single grant of up to £7,500 to cover lost income over three months for self-employed and sole traders whose trading profits are less than £50,000 per year.
But the scheme only covers lost payments up until the end of June – four months sooner than the Government’s wage support scheme for employees.
Mr Sunak announced earlier this week that furloughed employees would continue to receive 80 per cent of their income until the end of October.
Yesterday The Sun revealed that a million self-employed workers applied for the bailout scheme on the first two days it opened earlier this week – exposing the scale of help needed among solo-workers.
The Federation of Small Businesses has warned the Chancellor not to discriminate against Britain’s army of five million self-employed workers by failing to offer the same level of support as employees.
A survey of more than 5,000 of its members found nine in ten self-employed people in the accommodation and food and beverage industries said they had suffered “very negative impact” on their cash cashflow during the coronavirus crisis.
Eight in ten MOT traders said they had seen their cashflow drop-off while 77 per cent of retailers said they had suffered massive shortfalls.
Self-employed workers in the administrative and support services industry say they are struggling and seven in ten in the construction and manufacturing industries said they had suffered a very negative impact on their income.
FSB boss Mike Cherry said self-employed workers were disproportionately highly represented in industries that face having to stay shut the longest, such as the hospitality sector, beauty salons, gyms, pubs, recreation and leisure and jobs such as driving instructors and retailers.
Piling pressure on Mr Sunak to offer self-employed workers the same level of support as employees, Mr Cherry said: “The question now is, when will we have the same assurances for our five million-strong self-employed community?
“We know they have been hit especially hard hit by the current chaos.
“Close to three quarters say they have experienced ‘a very negative impact on cash flow’ due to the impacts of coronavirus on the economy.
“Thankfully, with the launch of an income support scheme this week, many self-employed people – a lot of whom have been surviving on credit cards and family and friends until now – now look set to receive a modest amount for each of the last three months to help them get through this.
“The reality facing them is stark: thousands of hairdressers, driving instructors, musicians, retailers and event organisers are unable to do their jobs.
“Others, like cleaners, can work but will be suffering big falls in demand.
“Many sell products to businesses that are shut.
“The support now on offer to sole traders is welcome, and will help ensure our economy bounce back once the public health crisis is under control.
“But, as the government has repeatedly made clear, social distancing – and therefore limits on business activity – will continue for some time.
“The furlough scheme has been extended for employees.
“We must now see an extension of support for one man bands, particularly those who work in sectors that will be impacted by social distancing measures beyond May.”
The Sun Says
THE Covid bill is vast, but Rishi Sunak must find more for the self-employed.
The Chancellor handed them a lifeline in March, but it ends in a fortnight. And we now know they are likely to be the last back to work because so many of their jobs need personal contact, making social distancing all but impossible.
The bailouts for employees are in force till the end of October.
Millions of self-employed people rapidly need a similar guarantee.
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Brits feared to have furlough fever where workers want to stay home as Rishi Sunak extends £80bn bailout until October
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