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Support for freelances must go on

A corononavirus

A coronavirus

THE NUJ has written to the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer to say that support for freelances must go on. The union asks all members in the UK to write to their own Member of Parliament to reinforce the message.

The letter from General Secretary Michelle Stanistreet to the Chancellor opens:

The National Union of Journalists welcomes your announcement of an extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until the end of October; and we await your proposals on flexibility for part-time working and for employers to contribute.

The NUJ is, however, very deeply concerned that so far, the UK Government has declined to make any statement on extending support for the self-employed beyond the one-time Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) payments.

As you know, the NUJ represents more than 8,000 freelance members, many of whom have now seen all their work for the foreseeable future disappear completely and are facing considerable financial hardship. Individuals are now desperate about the longer-term and are facing genuine hardship and anxiety with their financial, physical and mental wellbeing compromised. Many do not expect to make a living going forward and are considering leaving the industry.

If you are a #ForgottenFreelance who is not eligible for the SEISS scheme download this letter to help you make your case to your MP.

It asks, among other things:

On 26 March 2020, the UK Government announced the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS)... Whilst this is welcomed, many individuals are excluded from support at this time of unprecedented crisis and need, including me. It is urgent that the Government address these gaps and provide support...

The SEISS scheme must be based on sole trader turnover and not net profit. Although my income has disappeared my overheads and expenses such as rent, heating, internet, telephone, insurance, equipment hire, bank charges and professional fees still have to be met regardless of my income. These costs are frequently greater than the sum identified as profit....

Your MP can also support Early Day Motion 389 tabled by Caroline Lucas MP which notes concern that the details of SEISS do not reflect the reality of self-employment in the UK.

The NUJ is also asking other members to support freelance colleagues by sending this letter to your MP which urges the UK government to revamp its scheme to provide more support for freelances, PAYE individuals and the self-employed.

You can find your MP's email address on the WritetoThem website.