LETTER: Online only, so far

Missing out on covid support

Thanks for the Freelance! The update on what support freelances can receive based on PAYE vs limited company is really helpful. I would like to know what else is being done to lobby the government to do more for people whose income is a mix of both.

As a journalist and editor who has been freelance for nearly six years, most of my work has been a mix of different PAYE contracts for freelance shifts at newspapers and magazines, a bit of part-time employment, and to a lesser extent individual payments for one-off articles. As such, my "trading profit" up to the tax year 2018-19 is minuscule, so I won't qualify for much help at all - although it will be bigger in the tax year 2019-20, as I was on fewer PAYE contracts, left a part-time job and invoiced mostly for individual articles. But of course that year won't count - and I have no chance of furlough either.

So as one of many freelances who fall through the gaps, I'd like to know whether the NUJ is pushing for self-employed support to be based on a freelance's total income as declared on their tax return - including their various different casual PAYE contracts, rather than only their trading profits which often only amount to piecemeal extras.

And I'd also like to ask what's being done to get the support based of the 2019-20 tax year, so recent freelances and those whose circumstances have changed in the past year can claim.

And lastly, I'd like to know if there's anything I can do to help! I've written to my MP already, but would be happy to do whatever I can to help the NUJ's efforts to improve things. So please do let me know if there is anything.

  • The editor writes: The NUJ continues to push, in meetings with the Treasury and elsewhere, for a solution that is as close to this as is organisationally feasible. The Freelance has responded to the new Shadow Chancellor, who wrote to the Chancellor raising points that are good but don't go quite far enough.