THE leader of the Labour Party says the Government's support for self-employed people needs to be extended in line with the furlough scheme.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak recently extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until the end of October.

The scheme sees businesses who are experiencing disruption due to the pandemic able to furlough staff, with the Government paying 80 per cent of their wages.

After first announcing the scheme in March, the Chancellor later addressed the issue of the self-employed and came up with a similar offer, with people able to apply for grants based on their income over the past few years.

However, that scheme currently only covers three months.

As the Government comes under pressure to extend the scheme, the Packet asked Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer whether it should mirror the furlough offer.

Speaking to the Packet as he answered questions from the media following an online public meeting with people from Cornwall on Thursday, Sir Keir said: "I'm very pleased to see the furlough scheme extended, that was the right thing to do, and the self employment scheme needs to be extended.

"It's also got gaps in it and those gaps need to be filled. I think that's particularly important in Cornwall and the south west. Wherever there are a lot of self-employed people, they need proper support through this.

"The best chance of the economy recovering is if we do the least damage now and that's very, very, important for the self-employed."

He added that self-employed people didn't want to rely on loans to bridge the gap.

"People desperately need those schemes," he added.

Read more: As it happened: Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer holds virtual public meeting

Taking questions from the media, Sir Keir was asked about the policy on unlimited travel amid fears that people are flocking to Cornwall's beauty spots.

Sir Keir said that people should exercise restraint, be sensible and think about the communities that they're going into.

"And bear in mind that lifeguards and others are not there," he said.

Sir Keir was also asked about Cornwall being one of the worst hit areas economically by coronavirus.

He said councils had been underfunded for a long time and now had to deal with Covid-19.

The message from the Government "seems to be changing" in terms of they were promised all the support that they needed, he said, and government must not "pull the rug now".