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More help for the self-employed is coming, signals minister as Chancellor Rishi Sunak comes under increasing pressure to help those who missed out on massive cash injection plan for wages
- Sunak’s massive wage-support plan does not help self-employed, say critics
- Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called for a ‘message’ from the Government
- Robert Jenrick said: ‘The Chancellor is going to keep reviewing the situation’
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is considering further measures to protect the self-employed from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, a Cabinet minister signalled this morning.
Mr Sunak has faced criticism that his plan to underwrite the wages of millions of workers who face being laid off as activity dries up does nothing for the country’s five million freelancers, contractors and other self-employed workers.
Today Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called for a ‘message’ from the Government to those workers, saying ‘the danger is here now and present’.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said other emergency measures put in place by the Government will help them, but he added ministers are now looking to see what more can be done.
He told BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show: ‘We appreciate this isn’t perfect and the Chancellor is going to keep reviewing the situation and see if there are further measures we can take.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said other emergency measures put in place by the Government will help them, but he added ministers are now looking to see what more can be done
Today Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called for a ‘message’ from the Government to those workers, saying ‘the danger is here now and present’
‘It isn’t easy, it’s not as simple as supporting those who are in employment.
‘The purpose of our employment mechanism is to help continue the connection between employees and their business so once this is over – and it will be over – those individuals can return to their usual work and that link isn’t broken.
‘It is operationally very difficult to create a scheme akin to that for the self-employed but we are reviewing this. If there are further steps we need to do, we will take them.’
Clamour has been building for more help for the self-employed, following Mr Sunak’s blockbuster plan last week.
He vowed to cover up to 80 per cent of staff wages, but the move did not help people who were not employed by companies directly.
Mr Corbyn, appearing on Sky News’ Ridge on Sunday today, said: ‘I fully understand the problems of working all this stuff out.
‘We have had meetings with the Prime Minister, we’ve had meetings with the chancellor, we’ve had meetings with a lot of ministers and we had a meeting of all party leaders on Friday evening.
‘I fully understand all the stresses and problems associated with it, of course I get that, but the danger is here now and present.
‘If you are a self-employed electrician, you’ve got to keep your family fed and you normally bring in 500, 700, £1,000 a week, whatever.
‘If you are suddenly told you are going to get nothing and you cannot go out, you have got bills to pay.
I am just saying the government has got to give a message, a signal which they haven’t given, about raising statutory sick pay or about the self-employed.
There are millions of people working self-employed now in Britain, the climate has changed.
Musicians have lost an estimated £13.9 million in earnings due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Musicians’ Union (MU).
A poll commissioned by the union – the results of which were collected on Friday – suggests that nine in 10 of those working in the UK music industry have been affected, with job opportunities down by 69 per cent on this time last year.
Mr Sunak has faced criticism that his plan to underwrite the wages of millions of workers who face being laid off as activity dries up does nothing for the country’s five million freelancers, contractors and other self-employed workers
It also indicates that musicians working in live performance report the highest amount of lost earnings, with teaching and orchestral also affected due to social distancing and school closures.
The MU surveyed 4,100 of its members between March 18 and 20.
In response, the union has launched a coronavirus hardship fund, which will offer £200 grants to those facing financial difficulty due to the outbreak.
General secretary Horace Trubridge said: ‘Music is one of the few certainties we can rely on to provide happiness and relief in tumultuous times.
‘But musicians – whether they work in theatre, teaching, orchestras, gig-playing – will feel the full financial force of this global disaster.
‘Already, we have seen job opportunities drop by more than two-thirds, and sadly this will only accelerate.
‘Whether it’s the closure of venues, cancelling of events or closing of schools, there will be huge ramifications for musicians – many of whom are self-employed and have zero support to fall back on.
‘We hope this fund goes some way to providing a small amount of relief to our members, but we urgently need the Government to provide clarity on what wider support will be available and we call on the record industry to play its part too.’
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