One in three self-employed workers are at risk of losing their income due to necessary government restrictions on work and movement
1.7 million workers in total could be in danger according to a report out this morning by the Resolution foundation.
The Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme cushions the living standards hit for employees whose work is not needed due to the lockdown.
The Government must now do the same for self-employed workers and those facing reduced hours
Extending the Coronavirus Job Retnention Scheme would cost around £3.6bn to include self-employed workers says the report £2.1bn for those facing hours reductions, and £4.2bn for those already unemployed. over the three months.
The report says that unprecedented times call for bold measures.
First, the Government should make immediate changes to the social security system to ensure people receive more support if their income falls, recognising that means tests in the system currently prevent it providing much compensation
Second, the Government should replicate the support of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme via a new Coronavirus Compensation Scheme, both for the self-employed and employees losing their jobs.
Thirdly the Government should extend the retention scheme to cover the proportion of earnings lost among those employees experiencing hours cuts, rather than just protecting those whose pay falls to zero.
Wherever possible, the policy response must protect family incomes from the economic hit of this crisis, and also avoid deepening that hit.
This is why it is particularly important to include those whose working hours are cut in the retention scheme, so that those who are still able to do some work retain strong incentives to do so.
At the same time, the details of the retention scheme must be got right, by making sure firms can use it to cover workers who are off sick, thereby addressing problems with the coverage and generosity of Statutory Sick Pay.
While a huge amount has been done by the Government in recent days in stepping up its economic response to this crisis, a huge amount remains to do.