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Small Business Minister considers support for contractors
by Susie Hughes at 10:33 16/04/20 (News on Business)
Small Business Minister Paul Scully is considering ways of supporting limited company contractors that he can propose to the Chancellor.
Media reports suggest that the Minister will present the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, with proposals that would help two million business owners so far not covered by state initiatives.

The Government introduced several measures to support employees and the self-employed - but directors of limited companies 'fell through the gap' and, in the main, failed to qualify for the schemes.

It comes after IPSE research showed that 45 per cent of freelancers fear they will not be able to afford basic costs like rent and bills despite the Government support. It also showed that 69 per cent of limited company contractors believe the Government is not doing enough to sustain them through the Coronavirus crisis.

Utterly despondent
Alasdair Hutchison from freelancer group, IPSE, said: “More support is urgently needed for self-employed people working through limited companies. The limited company contractors we have spoken to are utterly despondent and feel completely left behind. Our research, too, shows that 69 per cent of limited company contractors do not feel Government measures are enough to sustain them.

“The Chancellor’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme was very generous to the people it covered, but there were several holes in the package – particularly limited companies and people who have only recently become self-employed.

“It is very welcome that Mr Scully is looking at ways to plug the gap for company directors. One way to do this would be to include dividend income in the government’s Job Retention Scheme, which company directors are eligible for but only for the small portion of their earnings that comes from PAYE. This would enable many limited company contractors who pay themselves through dividends to make full use of the scheme.

“Otherwise, we suggest the Small Business Minister considers schemes based on either a temporary tax break or targeted grants for limited company contractors in need. Either way, we urge him and the Chancellor to act quickly to extend their support package to this vital and varied section of the workforce.”

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