Government: Self-employed support “operationally difficult to deliver”

Ryan Fowler

March 21, 2020

Self-employed mortgage brokers may face an upward struggle securing government support during the COVID-19 crisis after Stephen Barclay (pictured), the Treasury chief secretary, warned it would be “operationally difficult to deliver”.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme Barclay responded to criticism of the current government plans to underwrite wages.

Freelancers, contractors and the self-employed have all raised concerns about the lack of protection for people in such roles.

But Barclay said the self-employed would benefit from measures such as the deferral of self-assessment tax requirements, holidays for mortgage payers and the strengthening of the welfare “safety net”.

On Radio 4 he said: “We are looking at operationally what we can roll out to people.

“The main thing we have done is twofold: it is to support the economy as a whole, because the best thing for people who are self-employed as for all people is to sustain the economy and ensure that we can return with those viable businesses, and alongside that strengthen the safety net.”

When pushed on measures specifically for the self-employed he added: “I come back to this underlying point about operationally it is difficult to do and what can be delivered to the timescales were are working to.”

Also speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, added that the lack of measures put in place for the self-employed: “will cause real hardship unless we get to grips with it”.

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