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SEISS statistics are a reminder of 'devastating' gaps in support
by Susie Hughes at 10:06 24/08/20 (News on Business)
Freelancer group, IPSE, has claimed that the latest Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) statistics are a reminder that over a million freelancers are not eligible for support.
SEISS was introduced to support the self-employed during the Covid-19 pandemic. While welcomed by many, it has also received criticism for 'missing out' certain groups such as freelancers who operate throught their own limited companies and the newly self-employed.

IPSE warned that this omission is driving a drop in the number of self-employed and urged the Government to consider ways to support forgotten freelancer groups in the event of a second wave.

Derek Cribb from IPSE said: “The August SEISS statistics are a reminder that although the scheme continues to help a large proportion of the self-employed, over a million freelancers – including directors of limited companies and the newly self-employed – are not eligible for it. This is a stark omission that is devastating to hard working self-employed people across the UK.

“We are already seeing the consequences of the gaps in support in the steep drop in the number of self-employed people last quarter. A second grant opened earlier this week, still without even a nod to these forgotten groups, who now face yet more months with no support. With the threat of a second wave and further lockdowns looming, government must urgently consider ways to support these desperate forgotten freelancers.”

Main findings
The main details and findings from the latest SEISS statistics are:

  • Around five million individuals reported self-employment income for the tax year 2018 to 2019, and had their data assessed for potential SEISS eligibility. In order to be assessed, a self-employed individual needed to have traded in the tax year 2018 to 2019 and submitted a Self Assessment tax return on or before April 23, 2020 for that year.
  • Via this process, 3.4 million self-employed individuals were identified as potentially eligible for the SEISS scheme. This means that they met the criteria for the scheme based on Self Assessment returns from 2018 to 2019 and earlier years. However, some of the potentially eligible businesses will not have been adversely affected by Coronavirus or have ceased trading since 2018 to 2019 so will not have been eligible.
  • By July 31, 2.60 million (77 per cent) of the potentially eligible population had claimed a SEISS grant with the value of these claims totalling £7.6 billion. This compares to 2.55 million claims made and £7.4 billion claimed by 30 June, as published in the statistics in July.
  • The average value per claim was £2,900
  • Around two-thirds of the potentially eligible population are male (2.3 million).
  • A lower proportion of potentially eligible females have claimed a SEISS grant (71 per cent) compared to males (79 per cent).
  • The average claim for females is also lower at £2,300 compared to the average claim for males of £3,200.
  • Around 90 per cent of claimants are aged between 25 and 64 and take-up of the grant in those age groups is at or above 76 per cent - no one age group dominates and claims are evenly spread.
  • The sector with the highest number of potentially eligible individuals and the highest proportion of claims is the construction industry. By July 31, construction workers had made 884,000 claims for SEISS totalling £3.1 billion.
  • The two regions with the highest number of claims are London (498,000) and the South East (379,000), reflecting their relative sizes.
  • Of the 1.6 million that did not meet the SEISS criteria, 1.4 million (88 per cent) had trading profits less than non-trading profits (for example income from employment or investment income), 0.5 million (33 per cent) had trading profits of £0 or made a loss and 0.2 million (11 per cent) had trading profits over £50,000 (Individuals may be counted more than once if they have trading profits which meet more than one of these criteria which explains why the figures sum to more than 1.6 million).

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Susie Hughes © Shout99 2020

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