Chancellor says it will take time for government to provide right support for self-employed
- Credit: PA
Struggling self-employed people will have to wait for the government to find the right coronavirus support package, chancellor Rishi Sunak has said.
Sunak told MPs it is 'incredibly complicated' to design a system to support the self-employed but insisted that intensive work is going on in Whitehall.
He said ministers are 'in dialogue with all the key stakeholder groups'.
'There are genuine practical and principled reasons why it is incredibly complicated to design an analogous scheme to the one that we have for employed workers, but ... rest assured that we absolutely understand the situation that many self-employed people face at the moment as a result of what's happening and are determined to find a way to support them,' he told the Commons.
'We just need to be confident that can be done in a way that is deliverable and is fair to the vast majority of the British workforce.'
You may also want to watch:
Unite union boss Len McCluskey warned the worry was filling workers with 'dread'.
He said: 'The millions of self-employed and insecure workers across the country will dread being sent home because it means that they will have no wage.
- 1 Sky News presenter says Boris Johnson is 'gaslighting the nation' over Covid claims
- 2 Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid reject Boris Johnson's coronavirus claim
- 3 Nigel Farage reminded of claim that 'acid test of Brexit' surrounds fishing after clip resurfaces
- 4 Home Office launches voluntary repatriation scheme for EU nationals
- 5 PMQs: Boris Johnson calls for apology from Keir Starmer over coronavirus stances
- 6 Brussels politician says Boris Johnson should 'pay for EU workers to stay' in UK
- 7 Pro-Brexit fishing campaigner says Boris Johnson's deal has left her with 'no fish'
- 8 Jeremy Corbyn loses bid to release Labour documents ahead of High Court battle
- 9 Michael Gove claims Boris Johnson is a 'huge asset' to Scotland
- 10 Boris Johnson is the 'worst PM' and should resign, says Alastair Campbell
'The government must work with trade unions to define the tougher isolation rules because we understand the reality of the workplace.'
He added: 'Without swift clarity for millions of insecure and uncertain workers about whether they can be at work or not, and without removing the agonising choice between health and hardship, then the positive measures announced by the chancellor last week will be overshadowed and public health efforts will be severely compromised.
'Confused messages and lack of financial support are at odds with the urgency of this health emergency.
'Workers need clear direction and protection from government now.'
Rachel Reeves, Labour chairwoman of the Commons Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, has written to business secretary Alok Sharma calling for ministers to extend the income protection scheme to cover the self-employed and to increase the rate of statutory sick pay.
She said: 'The chancellor's package last week to support businesses and employees was welcome.
'But with self-employed and freelancers still not covered by support - even as many of their businesses are now subject to lockdown - there is a worrying gap in the Government's strategy to protect these livelihoods which urgently needs to be put right.'
Sunak said he would 'hope to have something to say very shortly' on the issue, but acknowledged 'in terms of something being implemented, that will take longer'.
The prime minister's official spokesman said it was a 'complex issue' but understood the need to act as soon as possible.
'We do appreciate the urgency of the situation and officials are working at pace to find a well-targeted support package,' the spokesman said.
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.