Guaranteed minimum income the best way to protect all households.
The SNP has renewed calls for the UK government to deliver additional support for the self-employed after the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) warned that millions of self-employed people would fall through the gaps in the UK government’s proposals.
New analysis from the IFS shows that around 2 million people with self-employment income will not be eligible to have it covered by the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), and that almost half of the self-employed would see their family income fall by at least 40% in the short run if their work has dried up before the SEISS grants are paid in June.
A quarter of self-employed people earning less than £50,000 a year do not have enough liquid assets (between themselves and any partner) to cover three months’ lost earnings, and 15% don’t have enough to cover a single month.
SNP Westminster Leader, Ian Blackford MP, has said the UK government’s support for the self-employed fails to match Boris Johnson’s pledge to deliver parity.
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 has again called 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, or further into, debt and hardship.
Commenting, the SNP’s Fair Work and Employment spokesperson, Chris Stephens MP (pictured) said:
“I welcome the measures set out by the UK government so far but there are still many gaps to be filled and problems to be fixed.
“Millions of self-employed people rely on a regular flow of income, including thousands from low-income households and key workers, who have bills to pay and families to feed.
“They need support now – they cannot wait until June, nor can they wait five weeks for a Universal Credit payment.
“The Chancellor must use the tax and welfare system to provide a guaranteed income for everyone and bring forward emergency Universal Basic Income.
“Increasing Statutory Sick Pay, bridging the gaps in the support for the self-employed, and strengthening welfare protections by increasing Child Benefit and making Universal Credit more flexible must also be top priorities.”