Scheme is step in right direction for freelancers and self-employed

26 March 2020

Bectu has responded to the government’s proposals on how they will help freelancers and the self-employed through the COVID-19 crisis.

Prospect has been lobbying government intensively on behalf of freelance members, and our members have written nearly 10,000 letters to MPs this week on this issue.

Head of Bectu Philippa Childs said:

“Bectu has pushed incredibly hard for freelancers and the self-employed to have parity with employees and the scale of the chancellor’s announcement clearly sets out to achieve that.

“However, we won’t stop and there are still many details to work through including how those who have paid themselves through dividends will fit into this scheme and also the time-scale.

“We know that the benefits system is under intense pressure with a five-week wait for payments to be made and the self-employed and freelancers should have access to the coronavirus business interruption loans made available by the government.

“We are committed to working with the treasury to ensure as many people as possible can be covered by this scheme and sharing information across the creative industries.”

General secretary of Prospect (Bectu’s parent union) Mike Clancy said:

“Self-employed and freelance workers have been waiting anxiously for weeks to learn what support the government can offer them through this pandemic so this plan is a step in the right direction and a big win for our campaigning.

“There are two priority issues now for the government on which we will be holding them to account. First, they must work with unions and business groups to make sure that nobody who needs support is denied it, because of the way they are contracted or due to arbitrary thresholds.

“Second, to find a mechanism for getting this money to people as quickly as possible so that nobody faces hardship or has to resort to drastic measures.

“This is a big step for government and I appreciate how challenging it is, we are ready to work at pace with government to get this support to people and make sure nobody is left behind.”

More information

Now we have the government’s announcement we will be assessing the detail. Please keep up to date with our latest COVID-19 support pages and latest news.