'I get £36-a-month in Universal Credit,' struggling freelancer tells LBC

22 October 2020, 16:10

'I can't get any self-employed grants or anything,' freelancer tells LBC
'I can't get any self-employed grants or anything,' freelancer tells LBC. Picture: PA/LBC

By Sam Sholli

This is the moment a freelance singer told LBC that, despite not having worked since March, there has been "nothing" by way of support for him during the Covid crisis.

Terry from Bournemouth told Shelagh Fogarty of his concerns on the same day Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a package of measures to financially support businesses in Tier 2 regions.

In a statement to the House of Commons, Mr Sunak announced that the coronavirus Job Support Scheme will be made more generous, with employer contributions reduced and the minimum hours requirement also cut.

He also announced grants for businesses in Tier 2 areas of up to £2,100 per month they are in the category, that can be backdated to August.

Speaking of freelancers and entertainers, Terry, who is himself a singer, said: "There's nothing for us yet again."

He added: "I do a tribute show. I'm a singer and I've had no work since March.

"It's not just about me. It's about everyone else in the business [like] the guitarists, the drummers, the lighting technicians..."

Terry continued: "There's just nothing. One of the reasons there's nothing, to me, is because the nature of the employment that we're all in is sometimes we have to go PAYE.

"Now I've been an electrician in the NHS at Bournemouth Hospital for about five years until I retired last year, and because I've done PAYE I can't get any self-employed grants or anything."

The caller then told LBC that the UK was going to "lose talent" if extra financial support is not offered to freelancers during the Covid crisis.

Terry later added: "I've been paying self-employed income tax as well as PAYE from the NHS and I don't get anything.

"I get a small pension from when I used to work on British Rail and now I actually get £36-a-month from Universal Credit. So there you go."

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