CIPR welcomes Chancellor's move to support freelancers
The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has welcomed the Government’s decision to extend provisions of income assurance to cover freelancers and the self-employed during the coronavirus outbreak. However, there are concerns that the support will not be available for three months and that there will not be any support available to those who have very recently become self-employed. It also fails to cover Directors of Limited Companies who take a dividend.
The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, announced earlier today by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, provides a degree of security that was previously unavailable. The measures meet the "parity" promised by the government, allowing support for freelancers at a similar rate to salaried workers - covering 80 percent of salaries at up to £2,500 a month. This will be calculated using average monthly profits over the last three financial years (or fewer if necessary) and, according to the Chancellor, will cover 95% of the self-employed in the UK and run for three months.
The scheme - described as "operationally complicated" - is due to be up and running in early June when freelancers will be able to claim a lump sum of three months worth of back payments.
Those who have very recently become self-employed will not be eligible and are encouraged to look towards the benefits system.
We will continue to evaluate the impact of the scheme. If you have concerns regarding the scheme you would like CIPR to take up with the Government please contact PR and Policy Manager, Jon Gerlis.
Whilst we welcome the decision to bring the self-employed community - who make a massive contribution to the UK economy - in line with the employed workforce by paying 80% earnings, we do have some concerns. This is a difficult time for everyone but we can't pretend that this package will work for all independent practitioners. For many who are already struggling to survive, June is simply going to be too late. It is also highly unfortunate that those who have recently become freelance will not be entitled to anything.
Earlier in the week the CIPR and PRCA wrote to the Chancellor calling for further financial support for the 8,500 freelancers working in public relations and suggested the Government consider a different basis for eligibility, based on recent income declared or tax paid.
For more information on CIPR support, including details of our benevolent fund Iprovision, and allowing freelancers to request a three-month deferral in paying membership subscriptions, please visit this page.
- FAQ's on how the scheme will work can be found here.
About the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR)
Founded in 1948, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is the Royal Chartered professional body for public relations practitioners in the UK and overseas. The CIPR is the largest membership organisation for PR practitioners outside of North America. By size of turnover and number of individually registered members, we are the leading representative body for the PR profession and industry in Europe.
The CIPR advances professionalism in public relations by making its members accountable to their employers and the public through a code of conduct and searchable public register, setting standards through training, qualifications, awards and the production of best practice and skills guidance, facilitating Continuing Professional Development (CPD), and awarding Chartered Public Relations Practitioner status (Chart.PR).