Leanne Reinforces Calls for a Universal Basic Income to Help the Self-Employed

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The Rhondda AM has called for urgent action and a Universal Basic Income to help self-employed people “left with impossible choices” amid the coronavirus outbreak.  

Leanne Wood has been inundated with requests from self-employed people across the Rhondda that have been left with no income and no government support since the escalation of the coronavirus outbreak.

In a letter sent to Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Leanne wrote: ‘I am contacting you on behalf of the many self-employed people living in the Rhondda. They have been left with impossible choices to make following the coronavirus outbreak.

‘The measures you have announced so far have helped some workers and businesses, but to date there has been little to ease the financial burden of the self-employed. Some self-employed people are able to absorb a financial hit over the next couple of months but many are not in such a good position. Many have sunk their life savings into their own company and have no slack to fall back on. Many of my constituents are in this position and have contacted me to ask what is being done to help them. Many still have bills to pay, overheads to cover and loans to pay.

‘Anxiety, depression and anger levels are running high and swift action is needed before it is too late. For many, it already is.’ 

She added: ‘One solution may come in the form of an idea that has been already been trialled to great success in some parts of the world; the Universal Basic Income. Plaid Cymru has proposed this for all citizens of the UK as it would provide the security that all people need now to survive.

‘It would also help curb the spread of the Covid-19 as people would cut down unnecessary journeys or activities knowing they have a guaranteed income for them and their dependants. These measures have already been deployed in a number of countries including Ireland. 

‘Don’t make self-employed people have to make choices about working to survive and prioritising their own health and that of others. I urge you to act now. We live in unprecedented times. Please don’t dismiss this idea. Be bold.’

Ms Wood said afterwards: “The Chancellor must act fast. The calls for a Universal Basic Income are gathering pace. He must not reject the solution we need in this crisis for ideological reasons.”

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