Community – the collective voice of the self-employed – has welcomed the news today that the government has brought forward the schedule for its support plan for the self-employed from June. The trade union, which has a growing membership among self-employed workers, had been calling for the scheme to be implemented quicker as one of its five asks for the self-employed.
The scheme will now be delivered ahead of the original plan, with individuals able to apply for the grant from 13 May. All those eligible will be contacted this week by email, text and letter to inform them.
The government has today launched an online eligibility checker tool that will provide those eligible with a confirmed date from 13 May where they will be able to apply for their grant.
Welcoming the development, Kate Dearden, Head of Research & Policy at Community, said:
“This is what we have been calling for. We said that June is too long to wait for too many self-employed people and even now things are still challenging. But the fact that the government has listened to us and is bringing the schedule forward is a welcome development. Now the government needs to ensure that applications are processed as quickly as possible so people receive their payments.
“We will continue to call for more action for the self-employed, especially for those people who have found they are not eligible for the current support.”
The news came the same day as the government launched its Bounce Back Loan Scheme. Small businesses are now able to apply for 100% government backed loans to get through the next few weeks and months.
Kate said: “This will be a helpful option for thousands of people, including the self-employed, who are currently not eligible for the government support schemes. However, they are loans that will have to be repaid and not the grants that we’ve been calling for to support those self-employed who fall through the cracks in support. We will continue to work hard to lobby government to ensure the support schemes include all self-employed and freelance workers.”
Community has been making five asks of government for improvement to the support plan for the self-employed. The first was to get help to the self-employed sooner than June, which has been partly delivered.