Sunday, March 22, 2020

Government Relief - Not Enough

Millions in precarious, low-paid work feel overlooked by the government in its aid package. Millions of low-paid workers with precarious livings who stand to gain little from the government’s latest package of emergency measures, which will see company payrolls partly covered by the Treasury in an effort to stop the haemorrhaging of jobs in the economy’s hardest-hit sectors.

Jason Moyer-Lee, general secretary of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain, says the government’s response is grossly inadequate because it excludes gig economy workers:
 “They are writing blank cheques here, there and everywhere and saying they will do ‘whatever it takes’, but precarious workers have been completely left out. There’s nothing in it for couriers or private hire drivers or those in other types of bogus self-employment. It is not clear if the measures even cover zero-hours workers.”

Ministers have urged the nation’s 4.8 million self-employed workers to apply for increased benefits if they lose work or fall ill with the virus. However, the measures announced on Friday only bring universal credit in line with statutory sick pay of £94.25 a week – which the health secretary, Matt Hancock, has admitted he couldn’t live on.

The government’s multibillion-pound intervention has come too late for some workers in the hospitality sector, with industry bodies estimating that around 500,000 jobs have been axed this month.

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