The support scheme for the self-employed on offer from the UK Treasury is simply not good enough and will see many local people plunged into real financial hardship. That's according to Newry and Armagh MLA Justin McNulty who said, "This region has many self-employed residents, many in the construction, beauty and financial services sectors and what is on offer from the UK Treasury is simply inadequate.  It will see many face real financial hardship from now until the monies are released to them in early summer.

"Whilst the package for the self-employed matches that of a PAYE in monetary terms, the fact that people have to wait so long to receive the funds they are due is where the difficulty is.  The self-employed are also directed to Universal Credit which is a cumbersome process and has already proven to be not fit for purpose."

Asking the Chancellor to rethink the proposal Mr McNulty added "I believe the Chancellor should rethink this proposal.  It seems to be based on the premise that all self-employed people have a stash of savings or cash under the bed.  In reality, many of those who are self-employed are often the last to get paid by companies and work on tight cash-flows.  What they do make they tend to be re-investing in their business.

"The Irish Government have introduced a system which will see less red tape and a payment of €350 per week to the self employed.  This I believe would be more beneficial in the short term and then have some form of rebate in June / July based on the Chancellor’s proposals and to deduct the payments already made.  This whole process needs a rethink, for at the money the scheme is simply not good enough."

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