Equity welcomes Scottish Government’s support for the newly self-employed

Equity has welcomed the Scottish Government’s announcement of a £34m hardship fund, as part of an overall extra £100m package, which will provide grants of £2,000 to newly self-employed workers who currently fall through the gaps of the Government’s Self Employed Income Support Scheme.

Equity General Secretary Christine Payne said: “This help is desperately needed and must be replicated in England, Northern Ireland and Wales. Currently new entrants to the entertainment industry and recent graduates in particular have been left high and dry by the Government, with only minimal support available to them through Universal Credit”.

Equity President Maureen Beattie continued: “The Scottish Government’s decision to provide this hardship fund recognises the contribution of self-employed workers to the economy and the need to retain their skills at this time of crisis. Too many young people and new entrants risk losing their livelihoods in the coming months and it is essential that we give them much needed financial security”.

As part of the Federation of Entertainment Unions Equity wrote to Chancellor Rishi Sunak at the end of last week to propose a series of improvements to the Job Retention Scheme and the Self Employed Income Support Scheme to support graduates and a range of other creative workers who currently fall through the substantial gaps in the schemes.

Equity continues to have regular and ongoing discussions with the Scottish Government as the coronavirus situation develops.