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COVID and the Self-Employed in UK – Have been hit particularly hard

The Covid-19 shock is one of the largest economic shocks that has taken place in living memory. The crisis has served to highlight the challenges governments face in extending social insurance to self-employed workers, for whom it is difficult to verify work behaviour. Chancellor Rishi Sunak described designing a “deliverable and fair” support package for self-employed workers as “incredibly complicated”. The self-employed, left out from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) covering furloughed workers, were offered a lifeline in the form of the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). As an entirely new form of government support, it is important to understand the extent to which the self-employed are accessing the SEISS and, among the self-employed, who the beneficiaries are.

Summary

 We report results from the LSE-CEP Survey of UK Self-employment May 2020.1
 The self-employed have been hit particularly hard by the Covid-19 crisis, with approximately three
quarters reporting less work in April 2020 than usual.
 The largest reductions in self-employment hours and income are among lower-income, older
individuals without employees.
 There are no gender differences in the aggregate, however this is due to self-employed women being
more likely to be able to work from home. Comparing men who can work from home against women
who can work from home, women are more negatively affected than men.
 A third of self-employed workers have felt that their health was at risk while working during the
coronavirus crisis, and this was significantly higher among those who work in app-based jobs.
 On average, higher-income workers are more likely to apply for the Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme. Over 40% of those who had not applied are unsure whether they are eligible.
 On average, the self-employed expect their work to return to normal in September 2020. A fifth think
it will take until 2021 and 1 in 20 expect that their work will never return back to normal.
 The self-employed value income support highly. On average they are prepared to sacrifice 10% of their regular income to be guaranteed similar support for future shocks. Solo self-employed
individuals value income support by twice as much as the self-employed with employees.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story @ CEP | Publications | Abstract

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