With more than 330,000 self-employed workers in Scotland, the Scottish Government has called upon the UK Government to offer further financial protection and to make sure they are not be left behind or forgotten in the response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Paisley’s MSP, George Adam, asked the First Minister and Finance Secretary, Kate Forbes, to provide an update on the engagement the Scottish Government has had with the UK Government on financial protection for self-employed workers in the leisure and entertainment industry during a special ministerial statement in Holyrood on Tuesday 24th March.
In response to his question, the Cabinet Secretary for Finance confirmed that while the removal of the Minimum Income Floor is welcome, it does not go far enough for everyone within the workforce. In a letter to Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Kate Forbes and Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture, have urged for a more comprehensive version of the Jobs Retention Scheme to encompass the self-employed.
Paisley’s MSP said:
“It is important now more than ever that we continue to scrutinise all plans and legislation coming out of Westminster to make sure everyone in Scotland’s workforce is offered as much financial protection as possible.
“While it is very encouraging to hear of increased contact between the Scottish and UK Government, the measures taken by Westminster so far – while welcome – do not go far enough to protect the many self-employed workers unable to work now across Scotland.
“Actions taken in other countries suggest there are credible mechanisms that can support the self-employed. In Norway and Denmark for example, wage support schemes have been extended to cover the self-employed by covering their lost incomes based on earnings in previous years. If they can do it, so can we.
“I’ve been contacted by many self-employed workers, particularly in the leisure and entertainment industry in Paisley, so as your MSP I made sure to raise this issue in the chamber and highlight the concerns my constituents have. I know the Scottish Government will do all it can to make sure everyone gets the most comprehensive support package possible but for anyone who needs further information, up to date advice can be found at https://findbusinesssupport.gov.scot/coronavirus-advice.”