Ed Davey asks for more help for self-employed people during Coronavirus pandemic

The Chancellor has announced unprecedented levels of support for British business in the last few days. However, one group of people are not getting what they need to survive.

Self-employed people have been told that they can claim for Universal Credit at the rate of SSP, which would give them a derisory £94 per week.

Today Ed Davey called on Rishi Sunak to do much more to give our self-employed friends and neighbours, the people who clean our homes, cut our hair, walk our dogs and do so much to make our lives easier.

An article on the Lib Dem website sets out the practical help we want to see:

The Liberal Democrats have put down amendments to the Government’s coronavirus legislation to support the self-employed. They are:


By subsidising salaries for workers, guaranteeing incomes for the self-employed and boosting sick pay we can ensure that we are not only protecting our economy, but our society. That is why we are also urging the Chancellor to back a Citizen’s Income, and quickly, to ensure those most in need have financial security.

Leaving self-employed people with no reliable safety net is unacceptable.

While assisting the self-employed does create more challenges than with PAYE employees, the Government must surely err on the side of caution and get help out to people, rather than find reasons and excuses for doing nothing, or too little.

There are clear gaps in what the Chancellor has announced and the Liberal Democrats will continue to push for these measures to be taken forward so that no-one gets forgotten as this crisis continues.

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  • David Becket 24th Mar '20 - 4:07pm

    That is brilliant, but who is going to read it.

    We have no platform. My suggestion:

    Replace the useless web site with a simple one called Liberal Views.

    Statements like this are repeated without the dancing around seen in the current site.

    Provide Keywords and a search engine.

    With a series of common sense relevant articles the site will attract attention.

  • @David Beckett – this is what matters: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-52020234
    On policy matters the party’s website is a resource or reference not our party’s primary method of communicating with the general public. So well done to Ed on getting the BBC to take notice, as well as the HoC.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 24th Mar '20 - 4:38pm

    As a person whose professional trajectory has regularly been, and is normally, self employed, this is terrific, particularly for those like me who have worked in the entertainment or theatrical area. My work has been more in writing, research voice, in recent years, where related to theatre however, this is going to be impacted in future , for all, for some, now, this money essential. All of us in very precarious areas and financial circumstances must favour UBI, it is fair.

  • David Becket 24th Mar '20 - 7:08pm

    If the website is not our primary method of communication to the public then what is?

  • @David Becket – websites are resources and we have to send people to them. These days people don’t just drop by to see what is on a website, they mainly go when pushed. Changing the name or appearance of the website won’t change the dynamic.
    So we need to use all types of social media (like Twitter above), leaflets, press releases and appearances on news programmes to get our message out there. We are in a multi-channel world.

  • Denis Loretto 25th Mar '20 - 8:45am

    Ed’s intervention in PMQs seen live was excellent – well delivered, practical and with well-researched detail. As has been argued in a recent LDV thread it is ridiculous that throughout this crisis he has to be described as “Joint Interim Leader” of the Lib Dems. Surely to goodness we can cut through our normal procedures to allow Ed to be appointed for a specified period (one year subject to review?) as Party Leader and commence the process of leadership election only when the country is clearly emerging from the coronavirus crisis. Otherwise we weaken Ed in everything he says and does.

  • Katharine Pindar 25th Mar '20 - 9:17am

    Completely agree, Denis. Ed has the job, give him the title and the authority for a year in the first instance.

  • Dilettante Eye 25th Mar '20 - 9:32am

    The self employed are a difficult section of the workforce to administer financial help for. But they do need help.

    I believe one solution could be a ‘tweaking’ of some existing legislation under Statutory Maternity Pay. The very same legislation modified could be used by re-classifying :-

    Employer re-classified as The Government
    Employee (pregnant) as the Self Employed (Note~ male and female !)
    This emergency financial help to self employed, would constitute :-

    6 weeks pay for the self employed at 90% average of last 12 months
    33 weeks at £148.68 maximum.
    At 39 weeks this emergency pay for the self employed ends.

    It could be on the statue fast, to help the self employed , and it has a natural ‘sunset clause’ of 39 weeks, which means that the Government (i.e. taxpayer), is not permanently on the hook supporting the self employed for ever?

  • Roderick Alexander 25th Mar '20 - 10:22am

    David has clearly misunderstood our advanced communications policy . As I understand it blue letters are currently being written by thousands of well intentioned supporters because the party has asked them …………..

  • Christopher Perry 25th Mar '20 - 11:22am

    Is enough being done to protect those working in the food chain, particularly those working on super-market check-outs and those making home deliveries, and those working to maintain the utilities without whom we would not survive? Government announcements show a total lack of sensitivity or awareness in making no mention of these people on whom we all depend.

  • There is a fairly simple thing that could help immeidiately, grant all claims for Benefits automatically. Instead of a 40 minute phone call just to establish “Identity” just a 2 minute conversation to get name & address. Right now the System is on the edge of collapse.
    This is a change that could be made within hours.
    We should be demanding that the Government do this now.

  • David Evans 26th Mar '20 - 6:27pm

    Actually Joseph no it doesn’t match the support given to employees. Those who’s workplace is in the same building as their home will still have to pay all the costs of running the full building but will not get income from it to pay for the part that is a business expense. That could vary from 10% of their costs if they use a small part of the building to well over 50% in some cases.

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