Home Coronavirus Study: 700,000 UK freelancers out of work during third lockdown

Study: 700,000 UK freelancers out of work during third lockdown

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Portrait of unemployed businesswoman stressed after failure and laid off from work because impact from covid-19 pandemic outbreak. Conceptual of unemployed woman having negative feelings.

According to a new study from thinktank the Resolution Foundation, the number of self-employed people in the UK out of work during the current lockdown is around 700,000. This is a more than 50 per cent increase from the first COVID-19 lockdown last May, when 460,000 freelancers had stopped working.

Hannah Slaughter, an economist at the Resolution Foundation, said that the government should extend its eligibility criteria for COVID-19 income support schemes to help self-employed workers who are missing out due to the current criteria.

Slaughter also asserted that the government could help offset the cost of this by reclaiming money from those who had previously received grants that were “well in excess of the losses they’ve incurred during the pandemic”.

Slaughter said: “One in seven workers have stopped working entirely during the current lockdown, and two in five have seen their earnings fall by at least a quarter. Eleven months into the crisis, Government support is doing a better job of targeting affected workers, though three in 10 are still missing out on support, despite losing income.”

The study also found that 41 per cent of self-employed workers had experienced a fall in earnings of 25 per cent or more during the current lockdown. In May 2020, the number of freelancers who had experienced this kind of drop in earnings stood at 45 per cent.

A spokesperson for the Treasury said: “Throughout this crisis, we have done all we can to support jobs and livelihoods, spending over £280 billion in response to the pandemic.”

“These figures are misleading because they do not take account of how important an element of income comes from self-employment, nor the level of people’s income. Both are important factors in making sure that taxpayers’ money is targeted at those who need it most.”

“That said, we acknowledge that it has not been possible to support everyone in the way they might want, but we continue to keep our schemes under review and will set out the next stage of economic support at Budget.”

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