Wales’ 210,700 self-employed individuals are currently provided with little support under recently-announced measures. UK Government has made some limited announcements to support self-employed individuals – with a commitment to defer self-assessment and VAT bills and suspend the Minimum Income Floor on Universal Credit. However, UK Government still has a long way to go to support self-employed individuals to the extent that they have supported employed staff. Welsh Government are yet to make an announcement on self-employment.
At a UK level, FSB is calling on UK Government to consider why, when businesses are forced to close, self-employed people are excluded from the commitment to pay 80% of earnings. In Wales, the Economy Minister has suggested that Welsh Government will go further than UK Government on this, and so FSB Wales has urged Welsh Government to use the levers that they have available to do this, and announce a hardship grant fund for self-employed people.
Ben Francis, FSB Wales Policy Chair, said:
“As many as 1 in 8 people in Wales is self-employed, and they make a huge contribution both to our economy and our communities.
“We have received a huge number of calls and emails from individuals whose work has or is rapidly drying up and therefore their livelihoods threatened. These are, of course, individuals who have taken the ultimate entrepreneurial risk and are a huge asset to our economy and the richness of business in Wales.
“These businesses need to feel confident that UK and Welsh Government are there for them at this time.
“The Economy Minister stated that he wanted to go above and beyond UK Government in the Welsh Government support for small businesses and the self-employed, and so we are calling on him to do just that. A hardship fund would be invaluable not only to assist those individuals but also to ensure the viability of their business and their ability to trade once we begin to recover the economy.
“We would urge Welsh Government to take swift action to ensure that our self-employed individuals are given the support they need at this difficult time for Wales’ economy.”