Houses of Parliament

Commons debate highlights need for self-employed support

Caroline Lucas MP opened a debate in Parliament last week (17 September 2020) highlighting the plight of the many self-employed people who had, over the past six months, been unfairly excluded from the Government’s Covid-19 emergency support packages.

She cited those who had suffered intense hardship, unable to pay their bills and “drowning in debt”. The debate, she added, was a “sorely needed opportunity” to set out how the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS), which recently drew to a close, had “fallen short”.

Her calls for the scheme to be extended and expanded reflected those of WGGB and sister unions and organisations in the creative industries, who have been pushing the Government hard on this issue since SEISS was introduced earlier this year.

WGGB member Tracy Brabin MP singled out those creative freelancers who were accustomed to the “feast or famine” nature of working in the cultural sectors but who were now facing unprecedented and “unacceptable” conditions, as the pandemic wrought a “seismic impact” on people’s work and futures.

She spoke of the estimated three million self-employed who had not been eligible for Government support and those constituents of hers who were relying on food banks and were likely to experience a “tsunami of despair” this coming winter.

For details of what WGGB is doing to support members during Covid-19 and how you can get involved, go to our special Covid-19 page.