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