Since the coronavirus crisis began, I have been fighting for the Prime Minister to take radical action to shore up workers’ incomes and I am pleased that the Government has now announced a series of measures that provide important support to many workers. However, these measures do not go far enough and self-employed workers are falling through the cracks.
To limit the spread of coronavirus as much as possible, people who are not designated ‘key workers’ must abide by the government’s lockdown and stay at home. However, self-employed people who take time off work will – suddenly and through no fault of their own – be relying on an unacceptably low level of support of just £94 per week.
There are over 5 million self-employed workers in the UK worried for their future and the government must do more to support them.
For a start, the government should immediately increase Statutory Sick Pay in line with average earnings and make it available to everyone, including the self-employed and those on zero hours. This basic step should be part of a more generous package for the self-employed whose livelihoods are at-risk as a result of the economic shock but who won’t benefit from the government’s wage guarantee.
As it stands, the self-employed are being forced to choose whether they go to work or stay at home and face losing their entire livelihood. The Prime Minister must, without any further delay, announce how he will support self-employed workers so that we can all play our part in stopping the spread of the coronavirus.