SELECT, the trade body for electrical professionals in Scotland, has given a cautious welcome to the Chancellor’s measures, announced on Thursday 26 March 2020, to provide financial support to the self-employed – but insists more clarity is still needed.
As a result of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement, the UK’s five million self-employed workers, many of them in the construction sector, have been offered a package of grant support and tax measures to offset the impact of their being unable to work. Critically, however, no money will be paid out until June, leaving many struggling financially in the meantime.
Alan Wilson, managing director of SELECT, said, “SELECT welcomes the measures that have been announced, which we believe will provide much-needed help and reassurance, both for our members and other construction professionals.
“However, more guidance is required on the work which the self-employed are able to do following the First Minster’s announcement earlier this week regarding work on construction sites. We are expecting further guidance from the Scottish Government on Monday which, we hope, will clarify matters.
“The measures are welcome but their delay has caused huge anxieties to our members for well over a week, but at least they have now been announced and we will be studying closely their impact over the next couple of days.
“As a leading member of the Construction Industry Coronavirus (CICV) forum, we will also discuss these new developments with our fellow organisations and continue to press for further clarity and assistance for the thousands of construction professionals across Scotland.”
Fiona Harper, director of employment and skills at SELECT, added, “In addition to these new measures, SELECT will continue to offer advice and support through our dedicated online hub, and our staff will talk members through their options on our many helplines.
“We have received a large volume of calls this week from self-employed members who are concerned about what the future holds. While this announcement is welcome, this is only the beginning of a long and anxious period for contractors across Scotland.
“Our employment team will use this new information to provide further advice by any means necessary to ensure members are reassured and prepared for the coming weeks.”
Before the self-employment measures were announced on Thursday 26 March, the UK government had undertaken to pay 80% of the wages of employees unable to work because of the impact of the coronavirus. The scheme will cover wages up to £2,500 a month.