HOLYROOD ministers have called on the UK Government to urgently increase support for self-employed workers as the UK was put into lockdown.

Finance Secretary Kate Forbes and Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop made the demands in a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

The MSPs urge Downing Street to expand its emergency job retention scheme to the self-employed, as the governments of Norway and Denmark have done in response to the coronavirus crisis.

There are approximately 330,000 self-employed workers in Scotland.

The SNP MSPs, while welcoming the announcement on Friday that the UK Government would cover up to 80% of wages via a jobs retention scheme, say measures to help workers losing income as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak must be more comprehensive.

They are demanding wider access to statutory sick pay and a relaxing of means testing for Universal Credit.

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The letter reads: "I welcome the more regular ministerial contact that is now happening to support our collective response across the economy and public finances.

"I understand there will be both a finance ministers' and an economy ministers' quadrilateral discussion this week, which we will join for our respective interests. Our officials will also be speaking tomorrow and it is important that additional support for the self-employed is on the agenda for that discussion.

"We appreciate the scale of support, pace and increasing scope of interventions to date. I know you are considering more strategic support to key companies or industries and this is an area of importance for Scotland also and I trust we can work constructively on this area."

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The move comes as self-employed workers across the UK have warned that they have lost all income as a result of cancelled events and jobs.

Last week, Ian Blackford also urged the Chancellor to ensure that everyone has a guaranteed wage via a Universal Basic Income scheme, reversing National Insurance, or another similar mechanism.