Anxiety for the self-employed as coronavirus leaves futures uncertain

By Alexander Green
March 28 2020, 09.00

It’s not business as usual for the capital’s 860,000 self-employed, as the lockdown shuts off their only sources of income.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak sought to alleviate concerns in a press conference this week, announcing a monthly payment of up to £2,500 for workers in need.

This scheme won’t be rolled out until June, leaving many to rely on loans or the universal credit stipend of £94 a week to survive on.

Natasha Pencil, owner of Taino foods, Lambeth which produces Caribbean condiments, said: “Yesterday was a very emotional day.

“It finally hit me that it’s lockdown now and I’m thinking now what?

“I was planning to scale up my business, but everyone’s waiting with bated breath to see what happens.”

She and Laura England, an actor, join the five million other self-employed workers around the country left on the shelf by the contagious disease.

Ms England said: “It doesn’t even cover my rent so that’s terrifying!

“The hit has been incredibly hard and I effectively have three jobs so I don’t know where I stand.”

The lack of a quick response and social distancing measures has simultaneously heightened the difficulty in making decisions for both workers.

According to Simple Tax, 18.5% of all workers in London are self-employed. 

Citizens Advice Bureau and the creative industries union, Equity are offering help to the self-employed who are struggling to cope.

Self-employed workers affected by COVID-19 can visit to seek advice.

Related Articles