Chancellor Rishi Sunak set out his economic plan for the country earlier this month as the UK looks to bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic. An important announcement came for the self-employed, as the Government announced that the SEISS measure will be made more accessible. People can now apply for a grant with a 2019/20 tax return, which will be included in SEISS 4, and the Chancellor also confirmed there will be a fifth grant. While this change in policy will enable many more to gain access to support, over one million people remain ineligible for the scheme. Business owners voiced their anger earlier this month, with one person branding Mr Sunak’s lack of support a “disgrace”.
Lynn Thomas, 55, from Kirkham, founder of LHT Consulting Ltd, a limited company that offers leadership coaching, told the Lancashire Evening Post of her business’ struggles.
She said: “It is a disgrace that people who have worked and paid tax all their lives receive no support through this difficult time. There should be a minimum amount paid if you cannot qualify for the grants given.
“Why pay big corporates furlough when they don’t need it as much as families with children who receive nothing?
“Many entrepreneurs are needed to feed the restoration of the economy, it just doesn’t make sense. It is a big social injustice to starve the very people who pay their taxes.
“The country has been bankrupted and I think we will be paying for many years to come.”
John Devereux, owner of Orbit Satellite Installations LTD in Preston, also voiced his anger.
He said: “My company made a loss for the first time and my company has had nothing for the whole period. Limited company directors aren’t entitled to the self employed income support scheme, even if we are the only ones employed at our companies.
“Sole traders aren’t only eligible for the self employment support scheme, but they can carry on working which proves a fraudulent situation. Limited companies have to cease trading and stop earning anything just to claim 80 percent of their PAYE wage.
“The Government is perceived to be backing businesses and calling us the backbone of the country for getting things going again, but then they don’t support us.
“The only positive I can take from today is that corporation tax will remain at 19 percent for small businesses.”
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Following Mr Sunak’s Budget announcement, Director of Policy at The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), Andy Chamberlain, told Express.co.uk that his organisation was “disappointed” that many will remain excluded from SEISS.
He said: “We are very pleased to hear that the so-called newly self-employed will finally be allowed into the scheme and make use of the next two grants.
“However, it remains the case that there are well over a million self-employed people who remain without support and have never had adequate support since the start of the pandemic.
“One particular group are limited company directors – they remain excluded from SEISS, so we are disappointed that we didn’t hear what more could be done for them in this Budget.”
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Mr Sunak confirmed there will be a fourth and fifth SEISS grant this year.
The fourth will cover the period from February to April, and will offer claimants 80 percent of average monthly trading profits.
However, the way the fifth grant is allocated will differ depending on the personal circumstances of the claimant.
Eligible self-employed claimants will get a fifth grant worth 80 percent of average monthly trading profits, capped at £7,500 for the claim period, providing their business has suffered a drop in turnover of 30 percent or above.
If a claimant’s turnover has dropped by less than 30 percent, they will only be entitled to a grant worth 30 percent of average monthly trading profits, capped at £2,850 in total.
More details surrounding the fifth SEISS grant are yet to come.