Equity welcomes new plan for self-employed

Equity, the UK trade union representing creative workers in the entertainment industry, has welcomed the new plan for the self-employed after a period of intense lobbying by the union at the highest levels of government. Equity has been putting the case for the particular circumstances of creative workers and will be working with the government to make sure the details of the scheme fit with the needs of our membership.

Highlights of the plan:

  • An 80% income guarantee similar to the Job Retention Scheme, open to anyone with profits up to £50k
  • An average reference period for tax returns of three years, a minimum requirement of one tax return to qualify
  • A monthly cap of £2500, equivalent to the Job Retention Scheme which will be taxed
  • It will be backdated to 1st March, and will be accesible no later than the beginning of June
  • Universal Credit claims can be made in addition to this scheme
  • Scheme will be open for at least 3 months 

Equity General Secretary Christine Payne said:
We welcome the Government’s recognition that more needs to be done to support the self-employed workforce. We look forward to offering our advice and assistance as the details of this scheme are worked out and hope that it can be brought online quicker than is anticipated. Our priority going forward will be to ensure that as many members as possible can access the scheme, including those whose profits have been reduced by the legitimate expenses incurred in the course of their work. We will also endeavour to work with Government to ensure that accessible guidance on the scheme is made available to Equity members and we will continue to work hard for our members contracted across live and recorded media, including those who are covered by the job retention scheme.”

Equity President Maureen Beattie said:
The last two weeks have been incredibly difficult for Equity members - the shutdown of their workplaces and the distress of wondering how they will pay their bills with no prospect of alternative employment, while wondering if there will be an industry for them to go back to when this crisis is over, has brought unprecedented levels of stress to an already beleaguered workforce. I would like to pay tribute to all the campaigning efforts of our members since last Friday as we sought to secure parity for them with those whose workplaces are eligible for the job retention scheme. At first glance, the Chancellor's revised package for self-employed workers appears to give us a fighting chance of securing the future of our industry and the people who work in it, but there are concerns still and we will continue to work together - staff and activists alike - to get the best possible deal we can for our members.”