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Government salary protection 'should extend to self-employed'

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Chris Hazzard

Chris Hazzard

Chris Hazzard

Unprecented government measures to protect worker salaries should be extended to those who are self-emplpyed, it's been claimed.

While Chancellor Rishi Sunak yesterday announced that the government will cover 80% of ‘retained’ worker salaries up to £2,500 it did not include those who are self-employed.

Many of those likely to be hit hardest by the economic downturn as a result of the spread of coronavirus are those who work for themselves.

Sinn Féin MP Chris Hazzard has called for the self-employed to be given the same income protections as others, during the crisis.

“All businesses are coming under huge pressure as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and the self-employed, those in the gig economy, and workers on precarious flexible contracts are particularly vulnerable at this time," the South Down MP said.

“The measures to protect incomes introduced by the British Chancellor are welcome but I have been contacted by many people who are self-employed who are asking for those protections to be extended to them too.

“I am calling for these protections to be extended to the self employed so that they receive 80% of salary based on last years earnings up to a value of £2,500 per month.

“My party colleague, Finance Minister Conor Murphy, will be writing to the British Chancellor calling for this measure to be introduced at the same time as the protections come into place for other workers.

“Many self employed people provide key services that are required to keep our society working and they should receive the same support and protections as others.”

And DUP MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, said: "I have also urged the Minister to consider further measures for sole traders and self-employed people.

"This is pertinent for people who don’t own a business premises as they work from home or perhaps their van or lorry.  We will explore further measures for them in Northern Ireland through the Executive as well.”