Labour's position on support for the self-employed

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26 Mar 2020
On 19 March Labour published its Economic Plan for Individuals Affected by Coronavirus, Wages, Welfare and Wellbeing which you can read via the link below:

https://labour.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Labour%E2%80%99s-Economic-Plan-for-Individuals-Affected-By-Coronavirus-Final.pdf

The government has since announced its Jobs Retention Scheme which enables employers to access a grant to cover 80% of the wages of people who are not working but are furloughed and kept on payroll, rather than being laid off.

However, Labour has continued to highlight the fact that self-employed people are not covered by the Job Retention Scheme, nor are they eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). The Government has said that they should claim Universal Credit instead under which they will receive the same level of support as those claiming SSP. That level of support is completely inadequate to keep a business going and Labour firmly believes that the government should extend eligibility for the Jobs Retention Scheme to the self-employed with support set at a level of up to 80% of average earnings capped at a maximum of £2,500 a month based on tax returns over the previous 1-5 years.

We have continued to call for support for self-employed people, with both the Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn, and the Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell raising the issue in Parliament yesterday.

Jeremy Corbyn used his final speech in Parliament as Labour leader yesterday to call on the government to ‘give peace of mind to all self-employed workers’ and also reiterated that the government should extend eligibility for the Jobs Retention Scheme to them.

John McDonnell also echoed this and made clear Labour’s view that since the self-employed pay the same rates of tax as others, they deserve the same protections. He also wrote an article for The Guardian yesterday setting out Labour’s views which you can read via the link below:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/25/government-covid-19-plan-holes-four-groups

Labour will continue to press the government on these issues so that self-employed people receive support at this time.

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