Chancellor Sunak set out his economic plan for the country today as the UK looks to bounce back from the coronavirus pandemic. New support measures were announced for a wide range of people, with the hospitality sector’s five percent reduced rate of VAT for a further six months. The suspension of stamp duty on property sales up to £500,000 has been extended, and £700million will go to backing the arts, culture and sporting institutions as they reopen. Another important announcement came for the self-employed, as Chancellor Sunak 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.
However, Director of Policy at The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), Andy Chamberlain, tells Express.co.uk that over a million people will still be excluded.
He said that while the changes to SEISS announced today are positive, more still needs to be done.
Mr Chamberlain said: “There’s quite a lot of positives, but also a lot of omissions.
“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.”
Mr Chamberlain also said that Mr Sunak and the Government should do more for those made ineligible for SEISS by other rules.
He continued: “SEISS also excludes people with historical trading profits above £50,000, which we have proposed that a taper could be introduced to include some of those people, but that hasn’t happened.
“Also the over a million people who fall foul of the so-called 50/50 rule – people who have been self-employed but earned most of their income via some other means.
“We’d like to see more done for them as well, which hasn’t happened, which is disappointing.”
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“We are delighted that the Government has heeded our calls to get support to this struggling group.
“It is also very welcome that the Chancellor will be introducing a fifth SEISS grant for the UK’s self-employed.
“We hope these generous and welcome moves are early signs of more positives for freelancers in this Budget: it’s crucial that the Chancellor does not forget that there are other large groups of freelancers currently excluded from support – particularly sole directors of limited companies.”