Su­nak to an­nounce state bailout for 1.7m self-em­ployed work­ers

The Daily Telegraph - - Front page - By Anna Mikhailova deputy po­lit­i­cal edi­tor

ONE in three self-em­ployed work­ers is in line to have the Govern­ment pay their wages af­ter the Chan­cel­lor warned all five mil­lion can­not ex­pect “blan­ket cash sub­si­dies”.

Rishi Su­nak will an­nounce an emer­gency pack­age for the self-em­ployed to­day, af­ter last week set­ting out 80 per cent wage sub­si­dies for em­ploy­ees.

The Trea­sury has spent days de­lib­er­at­ing how to best tar­get the self-em­ployed who need it most, with one op­tion be­ing to of­fer a sim­i­lar sub­sidy to the one given to em­ploy­ees, but with a lower cap than £2,500. It is ex­pected to be avail­able to those who can prove they are di­rectly af­fected, es­ti­mated at 1.7mil­lion out of nearly five mil­lion.

Some groups may be ex­cluded, such as the self-em­ployed who have separate earn­ings as com­pany em­ploy­ees, and those on Uni­ver­sal Credit, who have al­ready had their ben­e­fits boosted.

Fraud checks could be con­ducted by HM Rev­enue & Cus­toms.

Boris John­son yes­ter­day told MPS: “We will do what­ever we can to sup­port the self-em­ployed, just as we are putting our arms around ev­ery sin­gle em­ployed per­son in this coun­try.” How­ever, he added: “I can­not, in all can­dour, prom­ise the House that we will be able to get through this cri­sis without any kind of hard­ship at all.”

His warn­ing echoed that of Mr Su­nak on Tuesday, when he said: “We will not be able to pro­tect ev­ery sin­gle job or save ev­ery sin­gle busi­ness.”

It comes amid in­creas­ing push­back in the Govern­ment against more largescale bailouts over cost to the tax­payer.

One Govern­ment source said: “This is go­ing to be bil­lions of pounds what­ever we do. We are get­ting to the point where it will be very ex­pen­sive, with huge long-term con­se­quences.” The source said ev­ery pack­age the Chan­cel­lor an­nounces leads to other groups call­ing for more. “It’s like Whac-a-mole,” the source said, re­fer­ring to the game where each time play­ers hit a mole, an­other pops up.

This week Mr Su­nak re­jected air­lines’ calls for a bailout and said he would only con­sider state aid af­ter they had “ex­hausted other options”.

A Trea­sury source told The Tele­graph: “We’re in­ter­ested in sup­port­ing peo­ple, not multi­na­tional com­pa­nies.”

Busi­ness: Page 1

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