Max, 30, is stressed and disappointed. Last March the self-employed wedding photographer’s work completely evaporated. Overnight, he went from earning about £30,000 annually to nothing. A private renter who lives in a house he shares with four other people in east London, he now faces a difficult choice: dipping into his minimal savings to pay £775 in rent to his landlord and cover his basic living costs or falling into arrears and risking eviction.
Being newly self-employed when the pandemic hit, Max was not eligible for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme. He is currently receiving Universal Credit at £901 per month which, after his rent, leaves him just £126 to play with. So far, he has just about managed to make it work by dipping into the “few thousand pounds” of savings he had but he is now two or three months away from them running out.