Don’t forget the army of FIVE million self-employed, Chancellor – they’re hurting too

Barber

The Government must turn its attention to supporting the self-employed as it looks to cushion the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.

That’s the view of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, and many other organisations.

In the year to November 2019 to January 2020, the number of self-employed workers increased by 194,000 (or 4.0%) to reach a record high of 5.03 million. The increase was mainly among self-employed women who increased by 118,000 (or 7.4%) to 1.71 million. The number of self-employed men increased by 76,000 (or 2.3%) to 3.32 million over the same period.

Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber has been in regular dialogue with regional bodies as well as speaking to Government, via the British Chambers of Commerce, and the Bank of England.

Louise Bennett, chief executive of the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said the picture was constantly changing and that the Government and the Bank were responding to the messages they were receiving.

She said: “It goes without saying that these are unprecedent times for all of us, including those in business.

“The Government announces a raft of measures one day, which we describe as remarkable, but then they have to go even further just a couple of days later due to the extent that firms across the region and the country are being affected.

“The measures announced on Friday of last week have given many companies a bit of breathing space and the Chamber will continue to press upon Government that the support promised needs to be easy to access and needs to be available as quickly as possible.

“However, there is no question that there is a gap in terms of the help that has been offered to the self-employed and freelance business community.

“We would, therefore, urge decision-makers to look at measures that will offer those businesses similar support and reassurance.

“As ever, we’d encourage businesses – no matter how small or large – to get in touch with the Chamber and our team will be able to listen to their issue and help them access any help available.”