Daisy Cooper, the MP for St Albans, is demanding financial support for a group of #ForgottenFreelances who have fallen through the cracks of the chancellor’s Covid-19 aid packages – particularly those who have a combination of PAYE and other income.
The key group of freelances and self-employed, also known as “zero-rights employees”, typically work shifts for newspapers, broadcasters, magazines and publishers.
Daisy has now joined forces with a cross-party group of MPs and the National Union of Journalists to call for urgent action to end the anomaly that is leaving so-called “casual” workers in the creative industries in dire financial straits.
In a letter to the chancellor, they point out the anomaly whereby freelances remain self-employed for the purposes of employment law, with no protection of employment rights such as sick pay or maternity leave, yet are forced to pay tax and national insurance like an employee.
Fight for financial support
As a result, they are neither being furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) nor eligible for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS).
Daisy’s fight for financial support during the Covid-19 crisis for freelances, agency workers and small businesses in Britain’s creative industries kicked off in April when she led a cross-party group of 130 parliamentarians to lobby the chancellor.
And in May, she and her Liberal Democrat colleagues called on the Government to extend income support payments to the self-employed, a move that culminated in an extension of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) for a further three months.
Daisy Cooper, who is the Liberal Democrat spokesperson for digital, culture, media and sport (DCMS), said:
“These workers are facing financial ruin. Many have been working shifts for one or more companies to establish their career. Parents, either with young families or with older children, often particularly need the flexibility this kind of work offers.
“It’s not fair or right that they are being excluded from the financial support being made available to everyone else.
“In mid-March, the chancellor said that no one would be left behind, but almost two months have passed and these workers have been offered no help. I’m calling on him to come up with an urgent solution to relieve the hardship they’re experiencing, as he’s been able to do for so many others.”