“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.
“Sometimes I’ve heard it said that ‘even self-employed people need a union’. I disagree. Especially self-employed people need a union.”
“Due to a lack of understanding and misrepresentation, many people presume self-employed people are playing the system or at worst, that we’re tax dodgers fiddling the system. Had a union like Community not existed for us when coronavirus hit, that perception may have persisted and the government wouldn’t have been forced to offer us support package us through the earlier part of the pandemic.”