Thursday 26 March 2020 11:57 am

Coronavirus: Self-employed bailout won't be perfect, says minister

A health minister has warned self-employed workers in line for economic relief today that their package might not be “perfect”.

Health minister Edward Argar said the government did not “want the perfect to be the enemy of the good” in formulating a package to assist the self-employed during the coronavirus outbreak.

Read more: Self-employed bailout: What a freelancer coronavirus package could contain

Rishi Sunak will unveil a set of measures today to support Britain’s five million self-employed workers, including freelancers and gig economy workers, dealing with the fallout from the Covid-19 outbreak.

It comes as the chancellor vowed last week to pay 80 per cent of wages, up to £2,500 a month, for employees who have cannot work because of the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.

Specualation has been rife this morning about what will be involved in Sunak’s support package for the UK’s self-employed.

Treasury sources told The Sun that only those who earned less than £30,353 will be eligible to receive support and that they will not be able to claim anything before March.

Meanwhile, government figures told The Times that the cut-off will likely be closer to £50,000 and two million people will be able to claim support.

One method of delivery being considered is for people to register their bank details with a site that will be set up by Treasury.

Boris Johnson said yesterday that he wanted “parity of support” for the self-employed, but that a package had taken longer because of “the complexity of their working arrangements”.

Argar said today that self-employed workers were “the bed rock of our economy”.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) have asked the government to match last week’s announcement and pay 80 per cent of self-employed workers’ wages.

Read more: High-spending Rishi Sunak proves a hit among Brits

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Large-scale wage subsidies are the best way to boost household finances, keep businesses running and help our economy bounce back after this crisis,” she said. 

“All workers – both employed and self-employed – should have their wages protected.”

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