PACEY has been working relentlessly to keep up the pressure on the government and specifically the Chancellor for a fair package for self-employed workers.
While help has rightly been forthcoming for businesses, charities and employed individuals, there have, as yet, been no measures for the UK’s estimated five million self-employed people, who currently have to rely on welfare payments of around £94 a week.
The Chancellor set out plans for 80% wage subsidies for staff kept on by employers last week - and the Prime Minister has said he wants similar protection for freelancers.
Our particular concern is of course the 40,000 childminders that act as sole traders and who have been contacting us with their very real fears and concerns.
I’ve had a drop in income of £600 a week. I have 3 children and I’m a single mother.
I have decided to close completely due to protecting my own family, even though I cannot afford to. Desperately need financial support to survive this.
Today we know that, finally, after pressure from many organisations and individuals, the Chancellor will announce details of the package for self-employed workers.
The announcement will be made at the daily press conference at around 5pm.
We understand that Rishi Sunak will announce an emergency package, ‘promising help for groups such as builders, taxi drivers, hairdressers and childminders.’
There is much speculation about what help will be offered. Rest assured we will be monitoring developments throughout the day and will be sharing all the information we have as soon as it is available.
These developments come as figures released yesterday showed that 477,000 claims have been filed for Universal Credit benefits since last Monday – a sign of just how much the government’s shutdown is hitting incomes.
The Chancellor has repeatedly said that drawing up plans to help self-employed people has proved ‘incredibly complicated’.
Dr Adam Marshall, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, told the BBC’s Today programme: ‘For many people that have seen their businesses disappear in the blink of an eye, things like statutory sick pay or universal credit just isn't enough. It doesn't need to be perfect - we just need a system in place.’
One of many childminders with the same story told us, ‘I am a registered childminder since 2006. I have provided quality childcare to families within my local area, but I have lost at least 90% of my income. Government should be supporting Childminders. We are all registered and pay tax and National Insurance just like everyone else.’
We acknowledge that there is no easy solution. What’s more we know from our discussions with colleagues in government that officials and civil servants are working round the clock under extremely trying circumstances. However, we will continue to reiterate the need for vital help for the childcare workforce.
They need for protection now. Protection for their own families, for the families that they provide care for and for the future role they will play when life returns to normal.