Stirling’s MP and MSP are renewing calls for the UK government to deliver additional support for the self-employed after the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) warned that millions of self-employed people would fall through the gaps in the UK government’s proposals.
New analysis from the IFS shows that around 2 million people with self-employment income will not be eligible to have it covered by the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), and that almost half of the self-employed would see their family income fall by at least 40% in the short run if their work has dried up before the SEISS grants are paid in June.
A quarter of self-employed people earning less than £50,000 a year do not have enough liquid assets (between themselves and any partner) to cover three months’ lost earnings, and 15% don’t have enough to cover a single month.
Alyn Smith MP and Bruce Crawford MSP have said the UK government’s support for the self-employed fails to match Boris Johnson’s pledge to deliver parity.
The Resolution Foundation estimates that one in three people in self-employment, a total of 1.7 million, are at risk of losing their income – including around 330,000 in Scotland.
The SNP has again called on the UK government to introduce an emergency Universal Basic Income to protect people’s incomes in the face of the pandemic, and to prevent people from being pushed into, or further into, debt and hardship.
Commenting, Stirling MP Alyn Smith said:
“What the UK government has done to date is welcome, but there remains many areas where too many people are finding themselves falling between the cracks because they don’t fit certain criteria.
“Many local self-employed people need that regular flow of income, this includes a lot of people who live in low-income households and those who are key workers. They’ve bills to pay and families to feed and need support now – they cannot wait until June, nor can they wait five weeks for a Universal Credit payment.”
Bruce Crawford MSP added:
“The Chancellor must use what tools are already available to provide a guaranteed income for everyone, bringing forward emergency Universal Basic Income. Increasing Statutory Sick Pay, bridging the gaps in the support for the self-employed, and strengthening welfare protections by increasing Child Benefit and making Universal Credit more flexible must also be top priorities.”
Notes for editors:
Fast choices by government provide generous income support to most workers, but leave some with nothing and others with too much – https://www.ifs.org.uk/publications/14787
Millions in UK ‘could slip through virus wage safety net’ – https://www.theguardian.com/business/2020/apr/02/millions-uk-slip-through-coronavirus-pay-wage-safety-net-self-employed-wage-subsidy
SNP’s Ian Blackford urges help for 1.7m self-employed left on brink – https://www.thenational.scot/news/18334806.ian-blackford-urges-help-1-7m-self-employed-left-brink/