Ian Blackford has criticised the Chancellor’s plans for self-employed people across the UK – warning that the delayed measures simply do not go far enough for millions in urgent need of support.
Blackford added that the proposals outlined by Rishi Sunak today fail to match the Prime Minister’s pledge at PMQs to deliver parity with the support announced earlier for employees – with the new income support scheme scheduled to be up and running by June.
The Resolution Foundation estimates that one in three people in self-employment, a total of 1.7 million, are at risk of losing their income – including around 330,000 in Scotland.
The SNP Westminster leader has renewed his calls on the UK government to introduce an emergency Universal Basic Income to protect people’s incomes in the face of the pandemic, and to prevent people from being pushed into debt and hardship.
Responding to the Chancellor’s statement, Ian Blackford said:
“It is disappointing that it has taken this long for the UK government to announce measures for millions of self-employed people across the UK, and it is extremely concerning that the people with bills to pay and families to feed will have to wait until June for the support they need now.
“Many self-employed people rely on a regular flow of income, including thousands from low-income households and key workers, and they need support now.
“However, the Chancellor’s delayed plans fail to deliver for many households already in difficulty.
“While they are being forced to wait for months, they are also being asked to apply to a Universal Credit regime which continues to have a five week wait.
“This is unacceptable and people will struggle to make ends meet.
“I have repeatedly pressed the UK government to bring forward a package of support that delivers fairness and financial safety.
“The Prime Minister pledged parity – that rhetoric has failed to have been matched by the UK government’s measures.
“The UK government must use the tax and welfare system to provide a guaranteed income for everyone, and bring forward emergency Universal Basic Income – including increasing UK Statutory Sick Pay to the EU national average, including self-employed people in the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and strengthening welfare protections by increasing Child Benefit and making Universal Credit more flexible.”