Self-employed workers from supply teachers to party magicians have pleaded with the government to fill the hole left by earnings lost due to coronavirus.
Self-employed people who have seen their earnings evaporate in a matter of days have been offered benefits worth ??94 a week. By contrast, employees who are told they cannot work because of the need to self-isolate will be paid 80% of their normal wages up to ??2,500 a month.
Jim Campbell, 48, a magician in Edinburgh, worked his last job, a baby shower, 10 days ago and hasn???t been employed since. He said he felt angry when the UK???s 5 million self-employed workers were not covered by last Friday???s announcement that employees would still be paid if they couldn???t work.
???By the end of February, bookings were going down and I started panicking quite a lot,??? he said. ???I was having panic attacks and outbursts at meetings due to extreme stress.???
Last year he earned ??14,000 and he has outgoings of around ??1,000 a month. He has a credit card with a balance of ??8,500 that is currently accruing no interest but will start charging him 24% in June.