MPs call on chancellor to extend support for self-employed
Some 114 MPs have called on chancellor Rishi Sunak to extend the timeframe for support for self-employed people during the coronavirus crisis, in line with the extension to the furlough scheme.
Under the existing scheme, any self-employed people who qualify are eligible for a grant of 80 per cent of their average profits, up to £2,500, for three months.
The self-employed scheme is due to end this week, while the furlough scheme has been extended to October.
The MPs signed a letter addressed to Sunak which was sent by Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh, warning that it is far too soon to end support for the self-employed and calling on the chancellor to intervene.
The letter reads: “This scheme is a lifeline for millions of locked-down workers right across the country.
"There are already significant holes in the support, but removing what is already in place would pull the safety net from under the feet of millions of self-employed workers.
"How can it be right for the furloughed scheme to continue but this scheme to not?”
2.3 million self-employed individuals are now receiving support under the scheme, with the total package being paid out by the government equalling around £6.8 billion.
A separate letter written by the Association of Independent Professsionals and the Self-Employed [IPSE] has also been sent to the chancellor asking for the scheme to be extended, while also urging Sunak to reassess individuals who did not qualify for the initial scheme.
IPSE believes that around 1.6 million sole traders and directors of limited companies have not been eligible for the scheme thus far for various reasons, including those who are newly self-employed or had taken maternity leave in the last three years.
On Thursday, Sunak indicated that an extension to the scheme was being reviewed.