GRANDPARENTS struggling to live off one wage blasted the government for taking too long to help the self-employed.

Janet and Mark Andrews fear they may end up in debt because they will not be able to pay their bills during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mark is a self-employed bricklayer but is out of work because of the lockdown and lack of supplies.

Last week, the government announced a scheme where businesses will receive grants to pay £2,500 per month of each worker’s wages. Something similar was announced yesterday afternoon for the self-employed - but it does not kick in until summer.

Janet, 52, said: “I have mixed feelings about this. We’re glad they are finally doing something and it will help us get by, but what are we supposed to do until June, starve?

“A lot of people are in the same situation and don’t know what’s going to happen. Three months’ time seems like a long way off. How are we going to make ends meet?

“It’s really scary, the whole situation is mad and very stressful. On top of worrying about our and our loved ones’ health, we have these money worries too.

"Our bills and mortgage payments are based on what we both normally earn, so when half of that is gone, it’s hard to adapt. We have some savings but they won’t last long.”

Mark said: "I'm a bit lost with it all. I don't feel reassured and it feels harsh to have to wait so long. Without enough money coming in, I don't know what we're going to do.

"We can put off our mortgage payments for three months but the company we're with is so busy that they won't be able to start that process until 10 days from now."

The couple have five children and five grandchildren. Janet works full-time in a HR role, though she worries that, if work there dries up and the company closes, she too will be out of pocket.

She added: “Our mortgage payments will be put on hold for three months, but to make up for that gap they will be increased afterwards, which does not really help - it’s more of a hindrance, really.

“We’ll be cutting back on petrol and going out, which does reduce costs, but we’re spending a bit more on heating, internet and electricity because we’re now at home all the time."