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Gloucestershire Business News

Government working hard to establish a support package for self-employed workers and freelancers

The government and parliament are working to implement a package of measures to support self-employed and freelance workers through the current crisis

The landmark announcement that the state would pay people's wages on Friday night ensured that any furloughed worker would still receive 80 per cent of their normal pay packet.

The Punchline Coronavirus Response survey highlighted the concern of self-employed people throughout Gloucestershire with numerous people telling us of their worries.

Since Friday's announcement chancellor Rishi Sunak has been discussing further measures for the self-employed, while the issue was also debated in the Coronavirus Bill in Parliament yesterday.

Gloucester MP Richard Graham was one of many MPs to speak in the second reading of the Bill yesterday, directing questions to the government minister about the issue.

He said: "no single scheme will be able to cover every single situation perfectly, and that the crucial point at this moment is the reassurance that something will be done to help everybody who is self-employed?"

MPs attempted to add an amendment to the legislation at the Bill stage and during a committee hearing of the whole house.

In that a new clause was put forward, to guarantee the earnings of the self-employed in the same way as the emergency measures on Friday helped those in employment.

The clause, as submitted, said:

New clause 13—Statutory self-employment pay—'

(1) The Secretary of State must, by regulations, introduce a scheme of Statutory Self-Employment Pay.

(2) The scheme must make provision for payments to be made out of public funds to individuals who are

(a) self-employed, or

(b) freelancers.

(3) The payments to be made in subsection (2) are to be set so that the net monthly earnings of an individual specified in subsection (2) do not fall below—

(i) 80 per cent of their monthly net earnings, averaged over the last three years, or(

ii) £2,917

whichever is lower.

(4) No payment to be made under subsection (2) shall exceed £2,917 per month.

(5) A statutory instrument containing regulations under this section is subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament.'

The clause was adopted at second reading and by Committee of the House and it will now head to the House of Lords for scrutiny.

It will be read by the Lords today with the aim of it returning to the Commons for a third and final reading and to be signed into Law by Thursday.

It is expected that Rishi Sunak will deliver a further address as part of the daily government briefings on Wednesday.

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