DOUGLAS Chapman, MP for Crossgates, Hill of Beath and Moss-side, has called on the UK Government to provide support for the thousands of self-employed workers in the area.

The UK Government has brought out a range of measures to support small and medium sized businesses through the coronavirus epidemic, but have left self-employed workers out in the cold.

According to the Federation of Small Business, there are 6,400 self-employed workers in Mr Chapman's Dunfermline and West Fife constituency.

Many self-employed workers, sole traders and freelancers are not entitled to Statutory Sick Pay and have no alternative but to either put their own lives and the lives of others at risk and go to work or apply for Universal Credit.

Mr. Chapman, and other SNP MPs, are calling for the UK Government to ensure everyone has a guaranteed income by introducing a Universal Basic Income, raising Statutory Sick Pay in line with the EU average and include the self-employed in the Government’s Job Retention Scheme.

Commenting, Mr. Chapman said: “At this time of great uncertainty, self-employed people need certainty that they can protect their own health by staying off work, but will have a safety net from the Government

“We should not be punishing people for protecting themselves and other members of the public from the virus.

“As we continue to diversify our workforce, the UK Government must recognise the increasing number of people who do work for themselves and do not work in the traditional business setting.

“The measures introduced so far by the UK Government have been welcome, but they do not go far enough to protect everyone, I would not want to see any business stop trading because of the virus and a lack of support from Westminster.”

The Chancellor of the Exchequer may make a statement on this subject today (Thursday).