Tens of thousands of Cornwall's self-employed workers are waiting to see if they will get government support through the coronavirus crisis, figures suggest.

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced that the Treasury is “determined to find a way to support” those who work for themselves.

But the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed has warned that any new measures “must leave no self-employed people behind”.

Office for National Statistics figures show an estimated 61,400 people aged 16 or over in the area were self-employed in the year to September – 23.2 per cent of all those in work.

That’s higher than the rate across the UK as a whole, where self-employed workers made up 15.2 per cent of those in employment.

The figures are taken from the Annual Population Survey, which asks sample populations across the UK to classify their employment status.

Almost 5 million workers were thought to be self-employed across the UK in the year to September based on the surveys.

Mr Sunak recently announced measures to cover 80 per cent of salaries of staff who are kept on by their employers.

But there have been increasing calls to extend similar help to self-employed workers.

Ryan Barnett, economic policy adviser at IPSE, said: “Although the Government has announced an unprecedented support package for employees, it has so far left the self-employed trailing far behind.

“The self-employed sector contributes £305 billion to the economy every year. It deserves much better than this.”

IPSE is calling on the Government to create a Temporary Income Protection Fund for freelancers and the self-employed, which would provide a grant to replace 80% of income for the worst-affected.

Mr Barnett added: “It is understood the Government is working on a new package of support for the self-employed. If true, this is very welcome – and a signal it does not want to leave anyone behind.

“However, we urge the Government to make sure it recognises the diversity of the self-employed sector.

“It must support the incomes not only of sole traders, but also the many self-employed limited companies out there.

“From health workers and journalists to designers and IT contractors, the Government must leave no self-employed people behind.”

Speaking in the House of Commons this week, Mr Sunak said that “we absolutely understand the situation that many self-employed people face at the moment as a result of what is happening and are determined to find a way to support them”.

He added: “We just need to be confident that can be done in a way that is deliverable and is fair for the vast majority of the British work force.”

An HM Treasury spokesman said: “The Chancellor has outlined an unprecedented package of measures to protect millions of people’s jobs and incomes as part of the national effort in response to coronavirus.

"This includes strengthening the safety net for the self-employed who will benefit from a relaxation of the earnings rules for self-employed claimants under universal credit and deferring income tax self-assessment payments due in July 2020.

"We have always said we will go further where we can and are actively considering further steps.”