Lord Adonis: Support for the self-employed is "the big missing link at the moment"

Tuesday, March 24th, 2020 1:26pm

Lord Andrew Adonis spoke to Love Sport Radio regarding the Government's financial package for workers and businesses which had little provision for the self-employed.

Tuesday 17th March saw Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveil a £350billion financial package to aid the economy during the coronavirus crisis. 

In his press conference Mr. Sunak told the press and the nation: "Never in peacetime have we faced an economic fight like this one."

As explained by the BBC, the Chancellor: "was extending the business rates holiday to all firms in the hospitality sector and funding grants of between £10,000 and £25,000 for small businesses. And Mr Sunak said that for those in financial difficulty due to coronavirus, mortgage lenders will offer a three-month mortgage holiday."

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Sunak also stated that the government would pay 80% of someone's wage who has been kept on by an employer but were unable to work, up to £2,500 a month. This would be backdated to the beginning of March and would last for three months initially but could do be longer if needed.

However policies to support the self-employed were nowhere to be seen in this huge financial initiative- there are roughly 5 million self-employed people in the UK.

Speaking to Love Sport Radio, Lord Andrew Adonis was asked by Martin Bell whether the self-employed would see policies introduced soon which were designed directly to help them.

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"I think we will because all of Whitehall and Westminster are talking about it. It's the big missing link at the moment. But whereas if you're in a job, you'll get 80% of your salary covered. If you're on income support you're getting £1,000 pounds up lift which is long overdue in my view, but it again means the people at the bottom can do better. 

"Those whose earnings were from self employment, many of whom- probably like your [Martin Bell's] saxophone friend had them completely wiped out because there are no gigs going on at the moment at all, obviously you're not allowed to go to a pub or a music venue or anything.

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"They [the self-employed] need support too and the principle on which people in jobs have had support, which is to maintain most of their previous income- we can't afford to do the lot but most of it- on the grounds that we need to keep people in jobs, keep their livelihoods together so that they can then, as it were, take on from where they left off before. It's what we all want to do.

"I think the reason they [the Treasury] delayed [helping the self-employed], they're not quite sure what the mechanism is because of course people who are in employment, they have completely predictable salaries, they're paid through PAYE so the Treasury knows who they are, can get the money to them to police the system quite easily. They're clearly having difficulty devising the system [for the self-employed]."

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