Tories claim that they are being generous and responsible in bringing in measures to tackle the Coronavirus situation but on analysis their measures fall very short of supporting the hardest hit members of society. This government are providing a package of assistance measures that seem to be supporting the needs of big businesses whilst neglecting or even exploiting the poorer members of society. For self employed, gig workers, zero hrs contract worker, you will be entitled to the generous amount of a full £94 a week to cover your costs and your rent. You will be assured that no greedy landlord can boot you out for your rent arrears for at least 3 months but after that you either find the money or you will be destitute. So you had better save some out of the generous £94 that the government will provide for you so that you can pay your rent arrears. Well in fact you had better save it all and spend not a single penny of it because your rent, in itself, is likely to be 3 or 4x the amount you are going to receive. Even worse if you are not sick and self isolating claiming SSP you will only be entitled to the miserly, miserable sum of £57.90.
For the self employed you will be given the opportunity to apply for loans /bridging loans. However during the period you will not be able to work there will be a loss of income. With any loan it assumed that you will be able to pay it back and with interest. Unfortunately many small businesses and self employed are making only just enough each week to meet their needs. Not all self employed people are wealthy and making large profits, many are just getting by to make ends meet. Taking out a loan to cover 3 months loss of income simply to go into debt to have to pay it back is just not feasible. The alternative is to apply for Universal Credit but this is worked out on a Partner’s income as well so in many cases you just will not get assistance at all. As a result your household will be worse off as a result of Universal Credit. These losses accrued whilst the outbreak develops, peaks and subsides simply cannot be replaced by robbing Peter to pay Paul and then compounding this further by factoring in interest charges. Arrangements like this could, for many, be seen to be extending the miserable situation of the Coronavirus way beyond a time after which the virus has long departed, leaving people to struggle with mounting debts.
In regards to self employed and gig workers sometimes there is very little distinction between the 2 because they can be one and the same. Many companies employing gig workers and people on zero hrs contracts employ them on a self employed basis to avoid paying the benefits and conditions of service that you are likely to get on a contractual agreement. As such there is no reason to lay off staff and make them redundant in a crisis like the Coronavirus outbreak. For example a firm employing taxi drivers will not lay off it’s drivers even if it had no work for them. Current rules suggest that these people are not entitled to SSP and caught in a trap of not actually being laid off and made redundant. To describe such people as merely self employed is in part a misrepresentation that does not account for the true position and nature of the relationship. People have the idea that to be self employed means a level of independence but for these workers it is far from the truth. They are self employed only in the fact that they are liable for their own tax etc, but in truth they are in a situation of dependence or symbiosis: mutually but not equally dependent upon one another.
What the Coronavirus has highlighted is that the Benefits System in the UK needs an overhaul.. It is not fit for purpose. It also highlights that this Tory Government is attempting to deceive the public by fooling them into believing that it is managing the Coronavirus situation and providing generous measures and assistance across a level playing field. In reality it is exploiting the poorer members of society and protecting big businesses and banks. The situation also calls into question the exploitative nature of the gig economy which needs greater control and legislation ideally with an end to any zero hrs contracts and the inherent vulnerability that is associated with such relationships.
Boris Johnson’s Tory Government wants you to live on £94 a week and pay your rents. This is simply storing up for a future of destitution for many. Boris certainly doesn’t want you to be vagrant on the streets during the Coronavirus outbreak at it’s height, that much is true: but after that he doesn’t care what happens to you when you can’t pay your rent arrears or your loan debts. These rescue measures suggest an element of profiteering by the banks and big institutions seemingly willing to exploit the Coronavirus situation. These Tory government measures will assist none. £94 a week will do nothing to assist with the situation caused by the Coronavirus, nor will putting the self employed into unmanageable debt and saddling them with loan repayments. Therefore upon analysis I would say that this Government have so far done nothing at all of any meaning to assist with the pandemonium and alarm and disruption they have caused thus far.