11:30AM, Tuesday 24 March 2020
Cllr Josh Reynolds
A self-employed borough councillor who is unsure how he will pay his bills over the coming months has called on the Government to do more to support freelancers.
Cllr Josh Reynolds (Lib Dem, Furze Platt) gets most of his income as a freelancer training retail staff at various shops, but his final contract dried up last week as more and more shops close or look to cut costs during the uncertainty of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Cllr Reynolds, and freelancers like him, can sign up for Universal Credit, entitling them to up to £94 a week, while full-time workers are being compensated up to £2,500 a month under special Government measures.
On Friday, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that any UK employee placed in a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme would have up to 80 per cent of their wages, up to £2,500 a month, paid by the Government.
Cllr Reynolds said: “My work has all dried up. I have spoken to lots of people over the last few weeks and their work has stopped.
“Because of the way invoices work, the struggle will be during April and May, when the invoices are all paid.
“There will be no money for me during May and June and I don’t know how I am going to pay the bills.
“I am one of the lucky people because I am a councillor and I get an allowance. That’s a safety net for me, but lots of other people don’t have that.
“I want to see the Government doing something to help self-employed people get through this.”
The council’s basic allowance for 2019/20 is £8,143 per year.
Yesterday (Monday) an amendment to the Coronavirus Bill was proposed, seeking statutory self-employment pay entitling self-employed or freelance workers to 80 per cent of their monthly net earnings or £2,917 per month - whichever is lower.
This proposal is yet to go through parliament.
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