The Chancellors long-awaited support for the self-employed is far too little and far too late. It will do nothing to persuade those who are self-employed to stay at home and stop the spread of the virus.
Basing the support on the average profit on three years tax returns ensures that a significant number of self-employed will not be eligible for this support. Some estimate as many as one third of those self-employed with fall through the gaps in this useless system of support. By basing the payment on profit the Chancellor ensures that the running costs of the self-employed such as car/ van, computer or any specialised equipment needed to perform their work will stay have to be paid from the government support, impacting on how much they would have left to pay for food. Delaying payment until June is inhumane. Most small businesses survive on a shoestring, they can’t hold out until June for money – they need to feed their families now!
Similarly, telling everyone else to simply sign up for Universal Credit is useless. The DWP have massive backlogs of people phoning for hours trying to get registered – why have more resources not being deployed to tackle this? And still the Chancellor expects people to wait 5 weeks to receive any benefits -how are people meant to survive during that period?
It wasn’t that long ago research highlighted that too many people in Scotland and the UK have insufficient savings to survive a loss of income. They have no safety net, yet the Chancellor expects them to wait 5 weeks for benefits or until June if the manage to be able to claim the limited support for the self-employed.
This of course, follows on from the sham support for businesses – with loans offered to keep them going, but it turns out this wasn’t support for businesses but – yet again – support for banks! It comes as no surprise that the main banks have already started raising their interest rates to make as much profit as possible from this current crisis. It really is time to follow George Kerevan’s idea and nationalise the banks!
The key to simply surviving the coronavirus is to stop the spread of the virus. The UK government wants people to stay at home but its support packages are simply not enough. If you were self-employed, say working on a building site, wouldn’t you take the risk of continuing to work so that you could get enough money to feed your family and pay your bills? The UK government’s support will lead to more cases of coronavirus.
You only have to look at how other countries have responded to the coronavirus. They’ve frozen mortgages, rents, utility bills etc but in the UK it’s all about making sure the banks can make extra profit!
It’s time for the Tories to put the people first not the banks. If you want people to survive this crisis (and I’m not sure the Tories do) then you have to get them to stop going out but ensure that they can survive and buy food for their families. It’s well past the time some form of Universal Basic Income was introduced. It’s not enough to ask people with nothing to hang on for pitiful benefits and jump through hoops until June for some funding. Introduce a Universal Basic Income now.