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Self-employment support scheme extended, but freelancers still ignored
by Susie Hughes at 11:01 01/06/20 (News on Business)
The Chancellor has extended the Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), but freelancer groups claim that hundreds of thousands of contractors are still being ignored.
Pressure groups have been pushing for an extension to the scheme in line with the plans to extend the 'furlough' scheme for employees. Freelancer group, IPSE, recently wrote an open letter to the Chancellor calling for an extension. (See: Chancellor urged to keep support for the self-employed - Shout99, May 2020).

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that SEISS will be extended - with those eligible able to claim a second and final grant capped at £6,570. The Government has said that in August, self-employed people eligible for SEISS will be able to claim 70 per cent of their average trading profits (up to £6,570) for the months June, July and August.

IPSE - 'Disappointing'
IPSE described the extension as and 'overwhelming relief' for some, but warned of the 'patently forgotten' groups like limited company directors and the newly self-employed and urged the Government to do more for them.

Andy Chamberlain, from IPSE, said: “It will be an overwhelming relief for many self-employed people that the Government has heeded our calls and extended SEISS. The scheme is a vital lifeline for millions of people and it is absolutely right that the Government keeps it running.

“It is fair that, as with the Job Retention Scheme, the Government has tapered the support on offer for the self-employed. However, it is disappointing that there will still be two months when employees can access support and the self-employed cannot. The Government should watch the situation carefully and be ready to step in if the UK’s self-employed need more support.

“It is also vital that the Government does not ignore the self-employed who cannot access this scheme. At the moment, groups like freelancers working through limited companies and the newly self-employed have patently been forgotten. We urge the government to consider these groups and also help them through the coming months.

“The extension of SEISS will protect a large proportion of the self-employed sector, but after Coronavirus, the country will be looking to all of the UK’s 5 million-strong flexible workforce to get the economy back on its feet.”

Qods - 'Stranded'
Seb Maley from freelancer tax specialists, Qdos, said: “The Government will continue to support millions of self-employed people, but hundreds of thousands of freelancers and contractors have been left stranded, with their needs overlooked yet again.

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“Individuals working via their own limited company have been all but ignored. The longer the situation plays out, the worse things get. Many have had projects cancelled, told their contract won’t be renewed and are under pressure to reduce rates. But unlike employees and sole traders, they don’t qualify for substantial support.

“Those who have lost work because of COVID-19 and slip through the cracks of the Government help will likely need to rely on savings to survive. But nearly one third have no safety net. They need a financial lifeline from the Chancellor, who must rethink the support available to this vital sector of the independent workforce.”

A Qdos survey revealed:

  • 28 per cent do not have any savings
  • Over one-third have either had their contract terminated, told it will not be renewed or have been asked to reduce their rates
  • 77 per cent do not think the Job Retention Scheme offers enough support, 17 per cent are unsure, and six per cent do.


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Susie Hughes © Shout99 2020

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