ORKNEY and Shetland MP Alistair Carmichael has called for urgent action to support self-employed incomes hit by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Carmichael has joined a cross party group of MPs in writing a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak over the “lack of action” for the UK’s five million self-employed people.
The Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB) has launched legal action against the government over the discrepancy in treatment between employees and other workers, arguing that the job retention scheme discriminates against the self-employed.
Carmichael said: “In Orkney and Shetland we have a massive number of people who are self-employed and who are now massively worried about what the future holds for them. Support for people in employment is welcome and generous but the self-employed cannot be left behind.
“As well as farmers, crofters, fishermen and tradespeople, we have built a strong, diverse and distinctive tourism offer over the past decades.
“Self-employed tourist guides, craftspeople, food and drink manufacturers and many others are integral to that offer. If they are allowed to go out of business now, then when tourism returns, the offer for visitors will be poorer and less distinctive.
“The objections from the Treasury are that this is ‘difficult’ and they could end up giving money to people who do not need it.
“That did not seem to worry them when we bailed out the banks but even if it is, for years we have paid self-employed people in tax credits and clawed it back later if it was necessary. We should be proceeding on the same basis now.”
Carmichael added that many people who were self-employed today were self-employed because “they were encouraged by successive governments to take that step.”
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 400 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News