Around five million self employed workers in the UK have been left ‘struggling’ to pay their bills, as the Chancellor was not able to guarantee them their wages.
In a recent public speech with the Prime Minister, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, promised ‘increased benefits for the self employed’ such as the ability to claim statutory sick pay. However, many worry that a mere £94 in benefits a week is simply unliveable.
“I think everybody should be equal, I work just as hard as someone that’s employed”
Joanne pritchard, self employed make-up artist
Joanne Pritchard is a self employed make-up artist, who started her own business Jo Glo Beauty in 2017, specialising in wedding make-up and beauty therapy.
Due to the current state of our country, she is no longer able to work. She stated that she thought “everybody should be equal” as she worked “just as hard as someone that’s employed”.
We understand the situation many self-employed people face at the moment and are determined to find a way to support them.
— Rishi Sunak (@RishiSunak) March 24, 2020
Due to the small amount of benefits available, many are turning to supermarkets and other essential retailers in order to earn money. Most have described this as ‘degrading’, with some businesses paying less than minimum wage.
And many leading retailers are now inundated with applications, which only makes it harder to find work, as Joanne Pritchard describes.
Joanne Pritchard describes her struggles as a self employed worker.
Despite the backlash received from the general public, Sunak has acknowledged that there are concerns surrounding this issue and has promised “further announcements”, although he did also admit that any agreement would be “incredibly complicated to design”.
So far, he has promised:
- VAT payments by companies deferred until the end of June
- Interest free cash grants to small businesses
- Self-assessment income tax payments for July 2020 deferred for six months
- Increase in standard Universal Credit of £20 a week, with the same rise for those still on the working tax credit scheme
- Nearly £1bn for those struggling to pay rent, through increases in housing benefit and Universal Credit
Whilst there are talks of the self employed being entitled to 80% of their wages, nothing has been confirmed as of yet.