Parliament is currently debating how the self-employed can be supported similarly to other workers and businesses throughout the UK.
At the outset of the debate the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, told MPs: “We’re looking at pace at what support can be provided.
“The fact is that the five million universe that we’re dealing with contains such a wide variety of different people where we don’t have the ability to target support – that’s the challenge that we have in designing something that gets to the people that we want it to help whilst at the same time being affordable, not having to benefit absolutely everybody.
“That is proving to be problematic, but we are hard at work on it.
“In terms of delivery, it is almost certainly going to be the case that we would have to build another brand new system to deliver any support.
“I think it’s right, and I’m sure honourable members on both sides of this house would agree, that in terms of prioritising system design, the scheme we have set up for 90% of the workforce that is employed should be delivered first and quickly, and that is what we have committed to do, ideally by the end of April.”
As questions then opened, Treasury minister Stephen Barclay took the lead for the government in answering them. His answers evaded addressing any real solution in sight for the self-employed.
Liberal Democrat acting leader Sir Ed Davey stood up and asked a question highlighting not only the plight of the self-employed but also how diverse the vital roles they do are, and how vital they are to UK society.
The debate continues, and later this afternoon we may hear more from Chancellor. Hopefully listening to public opinion and the somewhat elevated voice of 5 million self employed people in the UK, the tone will improve later.
Much praise has been heaped on Rishi Sunak by us and others in recent days, the tone of his actions will be the real measure.