We met once, it was a while ago now, and I don’t expect you to remember it. You were in the early days of your role at Mayor of London; I was in the early years of my career as a freelance photographer – I believe that was 12 years ago.
I’ve appreciated your updates and leadership this week. In a time of such confusion and concern for so many, yours is not a role I envy, and I’m grateful for all who are serving where they can in time of great concern for so many.
Like so much of the country, I was particularly relieved on Friday to hear of the serious financial measures that the government are taking to support so many in a time of great need.
What I couldn’t understand, however, is why those supports are being provided to a large proportion of our workforce – but not the self-employed.
If I’m honest, I’ve never liked the title of being self-employed – it carries implications that we are an isolated group who have the ‘self’ as the primary interest: that is, of course, untrue. We have adapted and utilised our skills to join the workforce and provide the country with the benefits of those skills, just like businesses the length and breadth of the country. Why is it that you think we should be treated differently and, most interestingly, to a lesser degree than the rest of the workforce?
That is where the ‘self’ is actually least apt; we are not an isolated group who fend only for ourselves and line only our own pockets. Most of us are not millionaires, far from it. We are entrepreneurs, crafters and grafters that do our bit and create significant income for the central pot – as we should.
We’re aware of the inevitable tax rises that will come at a later stage – and of the requirement to protect cuts to the public services that we all need so much. How can we continue to generate towards that central pot when we may not be able to sustain and maintain our work?
Of course we are concerned, not just for today and tomorrow but for the weeks, months and years that lie ahead for us; not knowing if we will have incomes to meet our needs in times of uncertainty, and not knowing if we will still have businesses that can play their part for when those better days come around.
It’s not just that we believe you must go further to support us during this time – it’s that we need you to – as does our future tax income.
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