Mr Sunak is expected to announce more details regarding the fourth grant of SEISS in his Budget on March 3. The scheme will cover the period of February to April, but it is still not known how much the support will cover. Applications for SEISS 3 closed last month – it covered 80 percent of average monthly trading profits, capped at £7,500 in total. Many self-employed people in the UK have been unable to get access to SEISS, with strict rules meaning many are ineligible.
One condition that has led to many being left out is the rule that claimants must have filed a tax return for the 2018/2019 tax year.
Director of Policy at The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), Andy Chamberlain, tells Express.co.uk that the Government’s support for the self-employed has been “disappointing”.
He said: “We’ve been supportive of the Government’s efforts in the early stages, if you look at SEISS, it was rolled out quickly, it worked and it was generous.
“It wasn’t perfect, but we were impressed that the Government got something out there and showed a willingness to move fast.
“What’s been disappointing since then is that we hoped the same energy and rigour that set up the scheme in the first place would lead to improvements, but that hasn’t happened.
“Now we have a situation where, yes, millions of self-employed people have been helped. But a lot of others have not been, and we are disappointed that the Government hasn’t moved faster to plug those gaps.”
Between August 17 and October 31, 2020, HMRC received 2.3 million claims for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS).
These claims totalled £5.9billion with an average award of £2,500 per claimant.
Mr Chamberlain called on Mr Sunak to make SEISS 4 more accessible than previous grants.
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Mr Sunak said: “There is currently an inconsistency in contribution between self-employed and employed.”
Mr Chamberlain warned the Chancellor that a tax increase could be the “straw that breaks the camel’s back”.
He said: “People are in an extremely fragile state, and if they have managed to cling on now, the last thing they are going to need is an increased tax burden.
“If we care about our employment rate, if we care about people’s business and if we care about the economy we should not be considering tax rises right now.”