Alistair Carmichael has urged the UK government to make “urgent changes” to its planned support for self-employed people.
The isles MP said that concerns had been raised in recent weeks over “significant gaps” in support measures announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
Meanwhile, the Scottish government has announced that £100m will be made available to protect self-employed people and viable SME businesses in distress due to Covid-19.
Mr Carmichael commented: “This week I am challenging the Chancellor to do more for the self-employed. It is obvious now that the measures announced to date are not sufficient and that time is running out to make a meaningful difference. Actions by the Scottish government are welcome but an integrated approach is needed.
“In recent weeks I have spoken with self-employed people across the isles, representing every walk of life, and their message to the government could not be clearer: it is time for a rethink. Almost half of self-employed people are worried that they will not be able to cover basic costs like rent and bills.”
He continued: “We have learned that only two per cent of businesses have been able to access government-backed loans since they were introduced last month.
“If that is the situation for regular businesses it does not inspire a great deal of confidence in the coverage for self-employed people. The government can start to build that confidence again by announcing new measures now.”