“Whilst other self-employed people could apply for Government grants, the fact that I’d been self-employed for just under a year meant that I was ineligible for these schemes.”
I became self-employed last year to give myself greater flexibility to pursue opportunities in different sectors which were of interest to me. As any freelancer will tell you, the first year is usually the most difficult as you adjust to the demands of securing a steady stream of work, not having sick pay or annual leave and chasing invoices. Whilst I was prepared for a challenge, nothing could have prepared me for the impact which a pandemic would have on my work. With the closure of the Courts, my work in the legal sector soon dried up, leaving me struggling to pay the rent and bills.
Whilst other self-employed people could apply for Government grants, the fact that I’d been self-employed for just under a year meant that I was ineligible for these schemes. Despite the fact that I was registered as self-employed with HMRC and would have been able to provide evidence of my average earnings since I registered as such, the arbitrary time limit imposed by the Government meant that I, amongst thousands of others, have been struggling to make ends meet. As a result of being a member of Community, I was able to receive a grant which helped relieve some of my financial pressure. However, it should not fall to membership organisations to assist those who are struggling.
This is why I support Community’s campaign to expand the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme to all self-employed workers who are struggling during this time.
“When you’re self employed, if there’s no work to do, you’re effectively unemployed. But there’s no support for freelancers who are momentarily unemployed. We can’t claim job seekers allowance, because seeking a new customer isn’t the same as seeking regular employment.”
” For much of the past two years I’ve been able to work from wherever I wanted and dial the work up and down as I saw fit. But this flexibility, and the perceived freedom that comes with it, throws up a whole ton of risk.”