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Boris Johnson promises more help for the self-employed

Constructions workers on a building site in Belfast. PA Photo. Picture date: Tuesday March 24, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus Ulster. Photo credit should read: Liam McBurney/PA Wire

Construction workers on a building site in Belfast today (Picture: PA)

The prime minister has said that new measures to protect the self-employed during the coronavirus pandemic will be announced tomorrow.

Speaking at his daily press conference, Boris Johnson said that Chancellor Rishi Sunak would outline support for people.

He said: ‘People do understand that the complexities of their working arrangements has meant it has been harder to come up with the right tailored package, but that is coming.’

It comes after he told MPs earlier today that he wanted to get ‘parity of support’ so the self-employed could have similar levels of protection to waged workers.

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He warned that the self-employed may not be able to get through the coronavirus crisis ‘without any kind of hardship at all’.

He told MPs: ‘There are particular difficulties with those who are not on PAYE schemes as he … I think the whole House understands.

‘We are bringing forward a package to ensure that everybody gets the support that they need.’

Under pressure to set out the support on offer, Mr Johnson said: ‘I cannot, in all candour, promise the House that we will be able to get through this crisis without any kind of hardship at all.’

But he told MPs: ‘We will do whatever we can to support the self-employed, just as we are putting our arms around every single employed person in this country.’

At Prime Minister’s Questions, the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford said: ‘As we stand here, people are losing their incomes. Telling them to wait another day simply isn’t good enough.’

And London mayor Sadiq Khan has said the lack of support for the self-employed has contributed to the numbers travelling into the capital for work despite the lockdown measures.

‘We … urgently need more financial support for the self-employed, freelancers and those in insecure work’, he said.

More follows.

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