Home Coronavirus Updates Government to pay 80% of wages for vulnerable staff, but worries remain for freelancers

Government to pay 80% of wages for vulnerable staff, but worries remain for freelancers

by Martin Fullard

Chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak (pictured) has announced the government will pay up to 80% of the wages of individual UK workers to keep them in jobs as the Covid19 pandemic tightens its grip on the UK economy.

Chancellor Sunak said the state would pay grants covering up to 80% of the salary of workers kept on by companies, equating up to a total of £2,500 per month.

However, there has been little respite for freelancers who continue to feel the squeeze with no sign of further assistance.

Chancellor Sunak went on to say that the government would be deferring the next quarter of VAT payments, the equivalent of a £30bn injection into the economy and it is hoped it will keep companies afloat.

The events industry has essentially shut down in its entirety, leaving many businesses with the real possibility of going bust. The announcement of the wage support scheme and deferment of VAT payments will go some way to allay fears.

Association of Event Organisers, CEO, Chris Skeith said: “Common sense prevails – finally tangible support for our people our businesses our industry our markets our customers – the devil will be in the detail but on the face of it progress. Good for most but we still critically need support for all especially our wonderful self employed and freelance community, there is still more to do. Thank you all for your continued support – together we are stronger.”

As for the business loan interruption scheme, more details of how that will work will be forthcoming on Monday. the chancellor noted.

However, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), has warned that the government’s Covid19 response measures leave the self-employed “trailing far behind employees”.

Andy Chamberlain, director of Policy at IPSE said: “Despite unprecedented measures to support employees, the government has still left the self-employed trailing far behind.

“The government has done nowhere near enough to support the self-employed. In fact, instead of supporting freelancers to help them keep their businesses going, it is pushing the self-employed into the benefits system. Worse, in the benefits system, the amount of money available will simply not be enough to cover many freelancers’ costs.

“In this drastic and grave situation, we urge the Prime Minister and Chancellor to match the steps they have taken for employees and create a Temporary Income Protection Fund for the self-employed. This should give a temporary, targeted cash injection to the freelance businesses that are struggling most – a financial boost to make up for lost income and keep them afloat.

“We urge the government to act on this and we urge anyone affected to sign our petition to make this happen.”

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