Home Coronavirus IPSE welcomes reopening but calls for government support to continue

IPSE welcomes reopening but calls for government support to continue

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The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) has welcomed the government’s commitment to ending lockdown restrictions and reopening the UK economy on July 19th, but warned that support for the freelance sector must continue.

The freelancer body said that the scale of the financial damage that the COVID-19 pandemic has done to the UK’s self-employed workers means that government financial support must not end when restrictions lift. The IPSE, in particular, highlighted the damage done to freelancers in the creative and events sectors – including from last month’s four-week delay to the end of lockdown -, the fall in freelancer numbers during the pandemic and the numerous gaps in government support.

The body urged the government to prepare a stimulus package for the UK’s self-employed population, monitor their situation as the economy reopens and be prepared to act where necessary. IPSE CEO Derek Cribb commented that the end of lockdown would be a “huge relief” to freelancers in creative and events industries, but warned: “For the rest of the self-employed sector, however, the final reopening of the economy may have less of an impact.”

Cribb added: “The wider self-employed sector – from IT contractors to graphic designers – has been financially hammered by the pandemic: the total number of freelancers has fallen by a truly shocking 14 per cent. Among those who remain, especially the million or so freelancers who were excluded from support (such as limited company directors), the spectres of accumulated debt and increased competition for contracts loom large.”

“As in previous economic downturns, however, the flexibility and tenacity of freelancers will be vital for the recovery effort. If they are to play this part and drive the recovery, there may be a need for a targeted stimulus package for the worst-affected groups.”

“Government should monitor the situation of these groups and be ready to step in. The full reopening of the economy is very welcome, but because of the gaps in support and sheer damage to self-employment, this must not be the end of Government’s involvement.”

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