CORONAVIRUS: Prime Minister must deliver quickly on new promise to self-employed

Press Releases 22 Mar 2020

FSB responds to a new PM promise to the self-employed.

Responding to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s pledge this evening (Sunday) that the government will be “standing behind” the UK’s five million self-employed as the coronavirus crisis intensifies, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is urging the government to set out and implement new support measures as rapidly as possible.

FSB National Chairman Mike Cherry said: “Over the weekend we have heard from thousands of self-employed people – including hairdressers, bakers, childcare providers, taxi drivers and café owners – many frightened and in despair at seeing their business fall away, and staring at the prospect of little or no financial support.

“While it is welcome that the government has pledged to cover 80 per cent of the wages of impacted employees, five million self-employed strivers have until now only been offered, at best, access to £94 a week. In desperation, many have attempted to apply for Universal Credit after Friday and have been turned down.

“These are people who have worked hard to build up their businesses, paid their taxes and helped the economy to grow. They now face a crunch point, with many unable to operate – leaving them without money, but with bills still stacking up.

“We have been strongly urging the government not to allow the self-employed to be left high and dry, and it is welcome to hear the that the Prime Minister is listening and offering new hope. This must now be turned urgently into practical and easily accessible support. Time is now running out.

“While the government has a big role to play, it is also vital that the banks play their part as well. Billions of pounds of loan guarantees come into effect tomorrow (Monday), and the banks must pass on without delay this access to finance for the struggling self-employed.”

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About FSB

As the UK’s largest business support group, FSB is the voice of the UK’s small businesses and the self-employed. Established over 40 years ago to help its members succeed in business, FSB is a non-profit making and non-party political organisation that’s led by its members, for its members. As the UK’s leading business campaigner, FSB is focused on delivering change which supports smaller businesses to grow and succeed.

FSB offers members a wide range of vital business services, including access to finance, business banking, legal advice and support along with a powerful voice in Government. Each year FSB also runs the UK’s Celebrating Small Business Awards. More information is available at www.fsb.org.uk. You can follow us on twitter @fsb_policy and on Instagram @fsb_uk.

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