This is part of the RSA’s series of short policy briefings on how to respond to the coronavirus now and build bridges to a better future as part of the recovery.
The government has announced that self-employed workers will be able to access a scheme similar to their plans for the employed, granting them 80% of recent earnings. RSA analysis finds that this does not go far enough, and calls for a basic income to ease the burden on those suffering from economic insecurity:
- The self-employed need emergency cash now. The government’s plan for the self-employed is slow, bureaucratic, and will take months to have an impact.
- A body of evidence exists which suggests that a basic income could reduce poverty and inequality. We are calling for an immediate cash grant of £1,500 per individual, with £100 subsequent weekly payments for the next three months.
- On top of a basic income, statutory sick pay should be doubled and available to all those whose income is primarily from self-employment.
- The lowest-paid three-quarters of the self-employed would benefit from the RSA scheme. The RSA scheme most benefits self-employed workers earning beneath £20,000 when compared with an 80% income replacement scheme.
The UK’s response to the pandemic has been hampered by internal inefficiencies in government. These issues have been exacerbated by scandals and clandestine decision making during the pandemic. Our report looks at the lessons the UK government can learn from how the pandemic has been dealt with abroad.
Over the winter of 2020-2021, we undertook a community inquiry to listen to stories of resilience, challenge and imagination arising from the pandemic. As part of our community inquiry, this short briefing is an attempt to understand in greater detail how those of ethnic minority backgrounds have been impacted.