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The government should create new self-employment centres to help struggling self-employed workers and revive the UK’s ailing high streets, according to research from the New Economics Foundation (NEF).

A pilot scheme of new self-employment centres, modelled on Sure Start children’s centres, would provide free coworking and meeting spaces, as well as face-to-face tailored advice services. These centres would be targeted in places where post-pandemic unemployment is likely to be particularly high – much like Sure Start Centres.

Self-employment centres could also offer a much needed civic and communal space on already-ailing high streets, which are set to receive a second blow in the wake of the impact of lockdown on the retail sector. The research finds that self-employed workers are isolated, and left with little power or support when facing difficulties at work.

The self-employed make up 15 per cent of the UK workforce, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Unlike employees in traditional workplaces, the self-employed have to provide their own equipment to carry out their jobs. The report finds that low-paid self-employed workers were unable to shift to home working during lockdown, unlike higher paid freelancers in professional services like consultancy or tutoring. It highlights the gaps in the government’s self-employed income support scheme, and that many self-employed people cannot receive any sick pay.

The report recommends the creation of a pilot scheme of 100 new self-employment centres, targeted in areas with high unemployment after the pandemic, which would:

Provide free-at-the-point-of-use coworking and meeting spaces, as well as face-to-face tailored advice services to self-employed people. Self-employment centres could also be a point of contact for peer support and union representation.

Provide an opportunity for self-employed people without work to pool and develop their skills and share knowledge of navigating things such as tax and income support.

Repurpose unused space to revitalise the UK’s beleaguered post-pandemic high streets. Self-employment centres could be housed in existing or acquired council or community assets.

Read the full story here: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/29854

ExcludedUK is a newly formed non-profit NGO and serves as a collective platform for those entirely or largely excluded from the UK Government's Covid-19 financial support measures. We are a rapidly growing organisation and an inclusive community, representing a broad spectrum of individuals and businesses, but all sharing one common thread: we are excluded.

As an organisation we will play a crucial role in facilitating support and assistance on multiple levels, both for now and into the future.Our aim is to build a stronger platform, raise awareness, lobby for support, raise funds for legal challenges and help enable the changes that are needed for those excluded. Most importantly, our hope is that our efforts can help propel affected individuals and businesses forward in the face of adversity resulting from Covid-19 and being excluded from Government support, while equally ensuring we are all able to help each other emerge from this crisis.

Excluded Newsroom

Written by Excluded Newsroom

Excluded UK is a new organisation launched to help those individuals and businesses who have found themselves excluded from the UK Government's Covid-19 financial support schemes.