Ian Blackford MP (pictured): “People are losing their incomes, telling them to wait another day simply isn’t good enough.”
The SNP has challenged the UK government on the unacceptable delays in providing a financial package of support for self-employed people.
Speaking at Prime Ministers Questions, Ian Blackford MP questioned why a package of support had not been put in place before the coronavirus lockdown was announced – given other countries across the EU have delivered support for the self-employed.
The SNP Westminster Leader has repeatedly pressed the Prime Minister for support for the self-employed over the past month – calling on the UK government to introduce a package of measures including using the tax and welfare system to provide a guaranteed income for everyone, 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.
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.
Commenting, SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford MP said:
“The UK government has had weeks to ensure a financial package of support for self-employed people – the continued delays are unacceptable.
“People are losing their incomes – telling them to wait another day simply isn’t good enough.
“There are many measures that could have been introduced before we went into lockdown.
“Millions of self-employed people are worried about how they will support their families, pay their bills and keep a roof over their heads – they need financial support now.
“Countries across the EU have already delivered billions in support for self-employed people – including our neighbours in Ireland, Norway, Denmark and Germany.
“The SNP has set out proposals including using the tax and welfare system to introduce a guaranteed income for everyone, raising Statutory Sick Pay to the EU average, including self-employed people in the jobs retention scheme, and strengthening welfare protections by increasing Child Benefit and making Universal Credit more flexible.
“The UK government should introduce these measures without further delay.
“We must ensure no one is left struggling to get by in the face of this unprecedented emergency.”