The Workers Union is calling on the chancellor to provide additional support for the newly self-employed.
The announcement came after the Gaps in Support all-party parliamentary group (APPG) said that people who have been excluded from financial assistance under the furlough and self-employment income support scheme (SIESS) should be granted immediate help.
The APPG estimates that providing additional funds to the 2.9 million people currently unable to access any form of relief will cost the country £10.5bn.
The Liberal Democrat’s Jamie Stone MP described it as ‘affordable’ and said it ‘will help protect the people the country will need desperately in the months and years ahead.’
Under the present arrangements, self-employed people who did not trade in tax years 2018-19 and 2019-20 are ineligible for grants. Those that do qualify must show that they have been impacted by reduced demand or are temporarily unable to operate because of coronavirus restrictions.
The Workers Union on Additional Help for the Self-Employed
The Workers Union stands with the APPG in the bid to get the government to review its policy towards the newly self-employed.
When the first lockdowns began in March last year and a fast response to the looming jobs crisis was required, it was understandable that some stones were left unturned.
But now we’re a year down the road, and there are still people who are desperately in need of help.
The government needs to abandon the idea that only self-employed people who’ve made taxable income in the last two business years should get a grant. There are workers who have lost their jobs because of COVID and have set up on their own. There are budding entrepreneurs who are ready inject creative energy in to the post-pandemic recovery. There are people on low-wages who were just starting their business on a part-time basis before lockdown hit. Most of these people will have already paid into the system through PAYE.
They need help and they need it now.
It’s difficult to dismiss the suspicion that some ministers consider workers in the first throes of self-employment as too eager to suckle on the teat of state assistance. This notion must be quickly discarded if we want to encourage the service providers of tomorrow.
To that end, we are asking for a new scheme that offers applicants a grant of 5k-10k depending on their circumstances. We think that is proportionate and affordable. We also think it could be the difference between accelerating the UK’s recovery plans and remaining in the economic doldrums for some time to come.
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