Martin Lewis exposes ‘complicated problems’ for self-employed amid coronavirus crisis

Martin Lewis explained the 5 million people who have been quoted as self-employed don’t all necessarily use it as their first source of income. The Money Saving Expert explained it’s taking longer for the Government to help self-employed workers as due to the circumstances surrounding each individual. He noted the 5 million quote refers to the number of self-assessment forms which are being filled out.

Speaking on BBC’s Coronavirus Newscast, Mr Lewis said: “I think we’re certainly going to hear this week that clearly what they to do is give parity to the self-employed with the 80 percent who get up to £2,500.

“There are some problems with that. You’ve got the state everyone’s quoting which is 5 million self-employed.

“It’s actually 5 million who do self-assessment forms, not all of those are self-employed, some of them are hired and there are many people who are in it who are self-employed as second work as opposed to first work.

“This is where it gets difficult. This is why they’re taking longer.

“They will come up with something, it will probably have holes in it because there’s no way you can come with something that quickly.”

He added: “For the people who are truly self-employed as the first source of income, I think they’re going to try and give parity with employees.”

His comments come as Chancellor Rishi Sunak will give details on Thursday of promised assistance for self-employed workers who lose income as a result of the coronavirus, broadcaster Sky News reported on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has told Parliament that more news on assistance would come in the next couple of days.

Mr Sunak told Parliament on Tuesday that he was looking into how best to support the self-employed, but there were “very significant challenges” in identifying which among them would lose income.

The Resolution Foundation said the best approach would be to ask the self-employed to declare their average income over the past three years, and how much their earnings had fallen. Tax authorities could later check for fraud.

The pay guarantee for employed workers covers earnings up to £2,500 a month, roughly the average full-time wage.


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The Resolution Foundation said a lower cap might be more appropriate for the self-employed who on average earn less.

The think tank said: “This would also reduce the incentive for self-employed people to discontinue economic activity that could be continued with.”

Based on the average earnings of self-employed workers in Britain, this would cost £3.6 billion for three months if a million people claimed it, it estimated.

Employees whose hours are cut should also be covered, as should staff who are sacked after their employers refuse to participate in the government scheme.

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