Written evidence submitted by Hannah Bilverstone
I am writing to submit details of the economic impact of coronavirus that I am currently experiencing.
I am a freelance, self employed Production Manager, working in the film/advertising industry. This industry, along with many others of course, has ground to a halt. My job involves the planning, logistics, and facilitating of film shoots for advertising agencies and music labels, and of course, these film shoots involve people gathering to film. The nature of my work means that I tend to work on several different jobs for different companies each month, employed for chunks of time, usually between 3-10 days.
In the tax year 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 I was employed to work full time at a production company. In the 2019/2020 tax year I became a freelancer, and as such do not have tax returns for the previous tax years. This of course means I am not eligible for the government’s Self-employment Income Support Scheme. I have already submitted my tax return for the 2019/20 tax year, in the hope that the eligibility might change, however sadly this has not happened.
The only support I am now eligible for is Universal Credit, which won’t even cover my rent. I have some savings, but these will not last forever. And these savings were supposed to be for my future. Soon I will run out of money, and then what do I do? I am going to have to forfeit my flat and move back in with my parents. The likelihood of work for the rest of the year is in question, so realistically I am going to need to give up on my career which I have worked so hard for, because I can’t afford to live.
It is very difficult to see the level of support that others are being given, knowing I will not be getting any. How is it that my friends are being paid 80% of their salaries, and others with a tax returns for 2018/19 are being supported, yet I am left with a maximum of £94 per week.
My future is in jeopardy. Not only am I most likely going to need to change careers and try and find a job amidst a global recession, but I am eating away at the savings that were meant for my future.
So many people have fallen through the gaps of government support, so many hard working tax payers, I urge you to rethink these plans.