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Thu, 9 July 2020

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Don’t scrap ‘lifeline’ coronavirus support for self-employed, MPs tell Rishi Sunak

Don’t scrap ‘lifeline’ coronavirus support for self-employed, MPs tell Rishi Sunak

The support scheme for self-employed workers is set to end this month (PA)

2 min read

More than 100 MPs have backed a cross-party call to extend the Government’s self employment support scheme before it ends this weekend.

In a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, organised by Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh, 113 MPs warned that many people “will be left without work and without support” if the scheme is scrapped.

Earlier this month, Mr Sunak announced that the Job Retention Scheme - which pays 80% of furloughed workers’ salary - will remain open until the end of October.

But the future of the equivalent scheme for self-employed workers remains unclear once it runs out at the end of this month.

On Wednesday, the Prime Minister told the Liaison Committee that the future of initiative was “under review”, in line with the furlough measures.

But the MPs are demanding urgent clarity on the measures from the Government.

Their letter reads: “For our constituents who have been unable to work due to Covid-19, this scheme, and the opportunity to be furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, have proven invaluable lifelines of support for those eligible to receive them.

“However, whilst the Government has announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will now continue until October 2020, it remains unclear whether any extension to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will be announced."

They added: "Whilst some of our self-employed constituents may be able to return to work over the coming weeks and months, it remains likely that many will not.” 

“If the scheme does not continue, they will be left without work and without support.”

MPs from all major parties have co-signed the letter including SNP Treasury spokesperson Alison Thewliss, Lib Dem acting leader Ed Davey, Green Party leader Caroline Lucas.

Other signatories include Tory MP Julian Lewis and members of Plaid Cymru and the DUP. 

Lead signatory Ms McDonagh said: "This scheme is a lifeline for millions of locked-down workers right across the country. 

"There are already significant holes in the support, but removing what is already in place would pull the safety net from under the feet of millions of self-employed workers. 

“How can it be right for the furloughed scheme to continue but this scheme to not?"

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