John Healey has launched an online survey to ask the self-employed about government support during the pandemic and their future prospects.
The coronavirus crisis has had a big impact on the local economy and stopped many self-employed people from working. In Rotherham and Barnsley, 28,000 people are registered as self-employed.
On 28 May, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a second taxable grant for self-employed workers would be launched in August, but he confirmed this is the final grant of its kind that will be available on the Self-employed Income Support Scheme.
John is concerned that government support for self-employed workers has been lacking and is ending too early. Most help has gone to bigger firms and those in PAYE employment who can access the furlough scheme.
The survey asks local entrepreneurs how Covid-19 has affected their business, what issues they have faced accessing Government funding and what other support they’d like the Government to provide to help see them through.
The survey will run until the end of June, then John will use the results to write a report for the Chancellor ahead of a possible Budget in July.
John said: “The Government’s help for the self-employed is limited and came late in the day.
“Some small business owners who have contacted me have been concerned the most support has been going to bigger companies and people in employment who could go on furlough.
“Sole traders and small businesses are the backbone of our economy. These are the start-ups, the brickies, the plumbers, designers and beauticians that make up our community and generate so much wealth in our local economy.
“I want to know from them how their income has been affected by the coronavirus crisis, and what more the Government could do to help them keep afloat as they come out of lockdown.
“Their livelihoods are vital to their own families, as well as our country’s economic recovery.
“I want to make sure it’s not just big business that survives Covid-19.”