Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price has called upon the Welsh Government to introduce a temporary universal basic income for the next month amid increasing calls for adequate support for the self-employed during the Coronavirus crisis.
The proposed emergency payment would give the self-employed security for a limited period ahead of any further announcement of support from the UK Government.
The Plaid Cymru Leader said the health and economic crisis would leave millions of self-employed, freelance, sole traders and those on zero hours contracts facing “a catastrophic loss of income”.
He said that “certainty” was now urgently needed in the face of the new restrictions on daily life and that the “quickest, simplest, and surest way” of providing that certainty would be an emergency Universal Basic Income for a limited period – introduced on top of other payments including statutory six pay or universal credit.
Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price said,
“The Coronavirus isn’t just a health crisis – it’s an economic crisis.
“Millions of people – particularly the self-employed, freelancers, sole traders, and those working in the gig economy or on zero hours contracts are facing a catastrophic loss of income due to the crisis which will now be exacerbated by the lockdown.
“What’s lacking is what people urgently need - certainty. Certainty that they can pay their bills, certainty that they will be able to put food on the table and certainty that they will get through this.
“That’s why we’re calling on the Welsh Government to provide an emergency Universal Basic Income for a month as the quickest, simplest, and surest way of providing much needed certainty for the self-employed, freelancers and those on zero hours contracts until the UK Government finally step up to the plate.
Shadow Economy Minister Helen Mary Jones added,
“In times such as this, what we need now more than ever is an ambitious and innovative plan that gets to the heart of the issue rather than introducing a patchwork plan.
“Here is an opportunity for the Welsh and UK Government to prove that they can adequately respond to the biggest crisis facing us in recent memory.