MPs have come together to back the #ForgottenFreelance campaign, which has raised cross-party support for those who do not have access to Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS).
Caroline Lucas MP has now called for the SEISS to be extended beyond October, and for those who have been left out to be included and given backpay.
The Green Party MP, who had secured a House of Commons debate to represent excluded freelances, said chancellor Rishi Sunak had been lobbied by numerous groups, including the NUJ, to secure their inclusion.
Lucas argued that the chancellor had been “deaf to the pleas of the left out self-employed”, including a petition signed by 348,000 people, calling for the SEISS to be re-examined.
As part of the campaign, the NUJ wrote to the chancellor and briefed MPs on its members who have “fallen through the scheme’s cracks” because they are paid PAYE, do not have a year’s tax return, are limited company directors, or because their self-employed work is less than 50%.
MPs from all parties took part in the debate, and spoke out for the three million self-employed who “all play a vital role” in the economy and who’d had no access to the SEISS.
Kemi Badenoch, Exchequer to the Treasury, argued that the government had tried to be flexible and had provided many freelances with financial support.
She did not agree to meet Caroline Lucas, who said the impression the self-employed had was that they were still forgotten and the government had not helped them.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said: “The ongoing plight of freelances and the self-employed, who have been cast adrift simply because of the reality of their employment status, is severe.
“We are in touch with the Treasury and hope to engage in meaningful dialogue to offer practical solutions and proposals to ensure that all workers can have a vital lifeline and support at a time when freelance commissions and opportunities have been badly hit.”