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Chancellor’s self-employment help highlights huge unfairness for employed workers

The Chancellor’s scheme to support the self-employed through the coronavirus crisis [announced this evening 26th March 2020] is welcome. But the fact that the self-employed can, rightly, continue to work and earn at a reduced level, and still get significant grants, simply serves to highlight the fact that employed workers cannot.

In order to qualify for support under the previously-announced coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, employees have to be laid off on zero pay, rather than for example, on half hours or half pay. Pilots across the industry are being put on significantly reduced pay, but, fortunately, almost all are being kept on some kind of reduced income. It is outrageous that the scheme for employees doesn’t cover this, whereas for the self-employed it does.

Brian Strutton, BALPA General Secretary, said:

“It would be outrageously unfair if employees suffering huge pay cuts cannot access the same kind of support as the self-employed who will be able to continue to earn and get a grant of up to 80% of their income even where they have only had small reductions in their income.

“Perhaps today’s announcement from the Chancellor on support for the self-employed signals a change of approach for employees too. We hope so. In any case, industries and workers need a lot more clarity from the Government on both of these schemes.

“The self-employed should absolutely be getting support from government, but there is no reason to have such a disparity in approach. We hope the Government will think again, otherwise it is clear something has gone terribly wrong inside the Treasury.”