Self-employed workers must not be an afterthought again

2 November 2020

Self-employed workers must not be treated as an ‘afterthought’ again, following the government’s failure to confirm what economic support will be provided for the self-employed in this lockdown.

Prospect, which represents tens of thousands of self-employed and freelance workers across the Arts, education, heritage and other areas, made the warning after the government confirmed that the furlough scheme will be extended for regular employees but were silent on the fate of the self-employed.

Prospect believe three steps must be taken urgently to support the self-employed:

  • restoration of the SEISS scheme to 80%
  • extension of the exemption to the Minimum Income Floor in Universal Credit which allows the self-employed to access welfare. It is due to expire in mid November.
  • Engagement with unions and business groups on steps in end the exclusion of nearly three million workers who were unable to access the SEISS.

The union recently launched an independent Inquiry into the Future of Self-Employment alongside Community union and the FSB. The Inquiry is currently taking evidence on the plight of self-employed workers during the pandemic.

Prospect General Secretary Mike Clancy said:

“While it is welcome that the government have extended the furlough scheme, it is alarming that once again the self-employed are being treated as an afterthought in this process.

“It is urgent that the government confirms that self-employed workers will have access to the same level of support that they had in the Spring, that access to Universal Credit for self-employed workers will be extended, and that there will be serious engagement with unions and businesses groups over how to ensure that nearly three million excluded workers can be given support this time around.

“The government’s indecision over economic support and threat to withdraw the furlough scheme has already led to thousands of unnecessary redundancies, they must act now to give security to millions of self-employed workers who are facing an extremely hard winter.”