The chief executive of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) has called on the government to expedite plans to support self-employed workers in the UK.
In a letter addressed to Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, Victoria Hills highlighted that many self-employed members of the RTPI had already felt the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
She praised the ‘unprecedented support’ given to the economy by the government over recent weeks but said the issue of protection for the self-employed must now be dealt with urgently.
“The RTPI is working closely with the MHCLG to establish as much business continuity as possible for the sector,” she said, “but we recognise that this will not be enough for many of our self-employed members, many of whom are facing the possibility of severe hardship.
“While we welcome the measures you have introduced for the self-employed to date, notably pushing back of the deadline for filing self-assessment tax returns and scrapping the minimum income threshold for benefit claims, these measures by themselves do not provide sufficient protection.”
Deirdre Wells, chair of the RTPI’s Independent Consultants’ Network (ICN), said: “While self-employed consultant planners are very experienced in home working and rapidly adjusting to changing circumstances, many are currently dealing with a complete cessation of income as clients pause projects and restrict payments.”
The RTPI has a membership of 25,000, approximately 10% of whom are self-employed.