The Government’s announcement of a third lockdown yesterday (4 January 2020) has been followed by a further support package from Chancellor Rishi Sunak today.
This comes on top of the extension of the furlough scheme and Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) announced in November 2020.
Yet there was no support announced for the estimated three-million self-employed who have fallen through the gaps of Covid-19 since March last year, despite the chorus of MPs, organisations and trade unions, including WGGB, who have been calling for this.
WGGB Chair Lisa Holdsworth said:
“The focus of today’s announcement on business support neglects those workers who fall outside traditional structures, the furlough scheme or SEISS.
“We are hearing tales of hardship and distress amongst those excluded freelancers who, through no fault of their own, and often as a result of a quirk in the system, have received nothing from the Chancellor, despite having their livelihoods decimated by this pandemic.
“The creative industries in which our members work has been hard hit, particularly theatres, and yet many creative freelancers – who power a sector worth £111 billion per year to the UK economy – continue to fall through the gaps. This is both short-sighted and damaging, as the skills and talent of those working in the creative industries will be essential to the UK’s economic recovery from this pandemic.
“The human cost of the failure of the Government to act is unforgivable and as we face a bleak winter lockdown it is time that this injustice is righted.”