‘Spacious support’, but not for self-employed

Self-employed people without staff (self-employed) come off in the current corona support package. While for salaried employees, the NOW scheme is in force again, self-employed workers are only eligible for compensation at the level of assistance. That distinction is scandalous, says Roos Wouters of the Work Association, which represents the interests of Modern Workers.

Wouters would rightly consider an extension of the package. โ€œThis is simply paid out of everyones tax money. So its really weird to say: we only think its worth while to meet people with a permanent contract who have actually suffered the least.โ€

In The Hague, tomorrow, when the aid measures are debated, the entire opposition seems to be driving for wider support for self-employed persons affected by the corona measures. There are also votes in the government parties, but within the coalition there are doubts about the feasibility.

โ€œUnfairโ€

โ€œSleepless nightsโ€ Simone Janssen has of it. Normally, this is the time of year when the bridal photographer is processing plenty of new bookings and meets future wedding couples for an initial introduction. Now her mailbox has been terrifying empty for nine weeks. In previous lockdowns, she was still able to count on the Tozo scheme (temporary bridging scheme independent entrepreneurs), but there is no question of that now.

Where the press conference of 26 November was still talking about generous support packages, it now appears that for the 1.6 million self-employed people in the Netherlands, they are therefore not so generous. โ€œHarrowingโ€, says Cristel van de Ven, chairman of the Association for Self-Employed Netherlands (VAN). โ€œWe are overlooked time and time again.โ€

Some of the parties will indicate tomorrow to the debate that the support package is too lean. Member of Parliament Senna Maatoug of GroenLinks: โ€œWe support people in salaried employment, then we find it very unfair that this is not the case for the self-employed. That is the group in the labour market that is most vulnerable, who has the least social security.โ€

It can also be heard within the coalition that the current support package is thin for self-employed people. Romke de Jong from D66 says he is concerned about โ€œthe large group of self-employed people who have not had support for a long time.โ€ Still, the question is whether D66 is really going to demand that support should be extended for this group. In the debate tomorrow, the party wants to hear how the cabinet thinks about this. But in the cabinet there are therefore reservations about the feasibility of a wider scheme

.

Secretary of State Wiersma says that self-employed workers can now count on the already existing safety net, self-employed workers, also called Bbz, instead of the Tozo. This has been temporarily expanded, so that no capital test is necessary to apply for it until 1 January. Tomorrow, the ChristenUnie wants to see whether this arrangement can continue after 1 January.

Pay out quickly

The majority of the self-employed work in a limited number of sectors. In part, these are sectors that are precisely affected by the current five-to-five measures, such as the cultural sector. The Kunstenbond therefore wrote a fire letter to Minister Van Engelshoven last week. It states that the extra support for cultural institutions often does not end up with those self-employed people and that something else needs to be arranged for them.

Within the cabinet, people think it is difficult to extend the support of self-employed people. If the cabinet would decide to do so, the aid package is treated in Brussels as new and put it at the bottom of the stack, according to Nieuwsuur sources, is the fear.

If that happens, it is necessary to wait longer whether this package complies with European rules on state aid. While the cabinet would like to turn out quickly.

Other considerations are also involved at the VVD to be wary of more support for self-employed people. VVD MP Aartsen would like entrepreneurs to move to branches where there is a lot of work. Extra support would prevent them from looking up new markets. โ€œAt all times, you want to ensure that entrepreneurs remain innovative, stay creative. Of course, that is an important fact. Of course, there is a safety net, which must ensure that people dont sink through the ice.โ€ Aartsen sees that the current safety net is not a fat pot, but he does not want much more than the assistance scheme that is now available for self-employed people.

The Association of Self-Employed Netherlands sees that differently. Van de Ven: โ€œLight and sound engineers have started working in the solar panel industry. There are actors and actresses who are at the GGD calling. So there is already a lot of agility and entrepreneurship, especially with those self-employed.โ€

Bridal photographer Janssen says that a new job is not an option for her for the time being. โ€œI have a great job and am good at it.If there is no corona, I have a well-running company. So Im just trying to postpone that decision as long as possible.โ€

What, according to sources, does work on by all government parties is extending the support of start-up entrepreneurs. The coalition parties look behind the scenes whether this group can still qualify for compensation for the fixed charges and whether this is feasible.