Government MUST act to help freelances, says Bectu

Philippa Childs portrait shoot, BECTU HQ, London. © Jess Hurd

Bectu has made another plea for the government to step in an help freelances cope with a loss of income during the coronavirus crisis.

Unions have been vocal in their attempt to lobby the government to protect self-employed workers, but nothing has yet been announced.

More than 100 people working in the creative industries have shared their concerns about the financial impact of coronavirus after a call out for information from Bectu.

The concerns range from:

–        being unable to pay for basic necessities like rent, food, continued nursery costs

–        being ineligible for universal credit, struggling to access the benefits system

–        using savings that have been put aside to buy a house, for a pension or to cover the cost of care for elderly relatives and knowing they will never be recovered

–        mortgage holidays only being granted for three months because of fears the industry won’t recover

–        fears about how they will pay delayed taxes if they use money put aside for that to cover their living costs.

Head of Bectu Philippa Childs said: “Our members are in desperate need of a government bailout – they are not millionaires – they are hardworking people who contribute significantly to the UK economy. They must be treated fairly; employees have been offered financial support without questions about their savings.

“The same approach must be taken for freelancers. The treasury must continue to engage with us and ensure that no-one is left behind during the pandemic.”

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