Financial support for the self-employed in light of Covid-19 pandemic

24 March 2020

Edward Davey MP asked an urgent question to the Chief Secretary of the Treasury, Steve Barclay, on financial support for the self-employed in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, delivered the 2020 Budget to the House of Commons on 11 March 2020. The Budget included extra measures to help those affected by Covid-19. There are five million self-employed people in the UK, generating about £300bn for the economy, however whilst the government made an announcement to subsidise the wages of direct employees, a support package for self-employed workers has not been announced.

Steve Barclay: "We have not forgotten you, help is coming"

The Chief Secretary of the Treasury, Steve Barclay MP told the House that the government knows many self-employed people are in real distress, but that they are working urgently to address this problem. He added "I say to the self-employed, we have not forgotten you, help is coming."

The Minister went on to say that the Chancellor has held meetings this morning with representatives of the self-employed and will continue to meet them.

Speaking about the possibility of a new scheme for the self-employed, the Minister said:

"The policy and delivery is complex, and we cannot and should not rush to announce a scheme that begs more questions than it answers.

Edward Davey: "The government has to move as fast as possible"

Edward Davey MP told the House that the five million self-employed people across the country are in real stress. He told the Minister that "while we all understand there are complications, the government has to move as fast as possible to meet their concerns because they are literally in many cases simply running out of money."

The Acting Leader for the Liberal Democrats told the House that its important to remember who the self-employed are, adding:

"80% of the five million self-employed are sole traders [...] the vast majority are not wealthy people, they are cleaners, they are taxi drivers, they are plumbers, they are hairdressers, they are musicians, tutors and journalists. They are builders and electricians, they are child minders."

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