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Remembering forgotten freelances

THE SCOTTISH government today announced a £100m package of additional grant support for small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) and newly self-employed people.

A coronavirus

A coronavirus

Three separate funds will be administered by local authorities and Scotland's enterprise agencies and will begin to pay out grants in early May. They include:

  • a £34 million hardship fund for the newly self-employed;
  • a £20 million fund for small and micro enterprises in the creative, tourism and hospitality sectors'
  • and £45 million for viable, but vulnerable SMEs crucial to the Scottish economy.

Applicants can access these funds and more via the FindBusinessSupport.gov.scot website.

John Toner, NUJ Scottish national organiser, said:

When times are tough, freelances tend to have it tougher than most through the insecurity of their working relationships. We welcome all the support from governments, but I am particularly pleased that the Scottish Government has listened to trades unions and other bodies. The support for newly self-employed people is something that we have pushed for.

Pamela Morton, NUJ national freelance organiser said:

We will continue to press the UK government for more support for the many individuals we know are falling through the gaps in the support schemes. Freelances and the self-employed are crucial to our industry and the economy and governments must support them in this crisis. I have seen reports that up to 2 million individuals with self-employed income are not covered by the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and that is unacceptable. The UK government must follow the lead of the Scottish and Welsh governments which recognised the gaps and found additional funding. Employers too must not hang out to dry the freelances they normally depend upon.

Please do encourage your MP to support Early Day Motion 389 seeking further support for the self-employed.

There will be oral questions in the House of Lords on Tuesday 5 May from 1pm, with discussion of freelance workers accessing adequate funds through the welfare system until payments under the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme begin. You can watch it on parliamentlive.tv.

And for more, including the BBC covid-19 Hardship Fund for freelances, whether paid via PAYE or gross, see the latest NUJ briefing on Covid-19 support schemes and benefit packages.