Protect self-employed before they’re pushed into poverty says Coventry MP

Zarah Sultana highlighted that the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme “doesn’t cover the 5 million self-employed, from actors to taxi-drivers”.

Zarah Sultana, Labour MP for Coventry South, on Wednesday, demanded the government protect the incomes of the self-employed “before they’re pushed into poverty”.

Ms Sultana was speaking in the House of Commons on a debate on the government’s financial and social emergency support package. Her demand came after the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme failed to protect the incomes of the self-employed. 

Ms Sultana highlighted that the scheme “doesn’t cover the 5 million self-employed, from actors to taxi-drivers, and while the Chancellor has promised further measures, they should never have been excluded in the first place and been left with fear of their incomes disappearing overnight.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson told MPs that the government will do “whatever we can” to support the self-employed.

In response to criticism of the government’s lack of measures to help the self-employed, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak will outline new measures aimed at helping the self-employed at the government’s daily COVID-19 press conference on Thursday.

In her speech, Ms Sultana also praised NHS staff at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire. She said “Their bravery, dedication and self-sacrifice at this time is an inspiration”, but that it’s “a scandal” that “NHS staff are confronting this crisis without the resources they need.”

Ms Sultana said: “If we are to learn one thing from this crisis, I hope it is that no one will ever again undervalue or underfund our NHS.”