SEISS, formally known as the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, has offered a financial helping hand to those impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. However, while Government support schemes can prove a lifeline, as millions turn their back on the industry, it appears there is a deeper problem to address. Data released by the Office for National Statistics has shown an exodus from self-employment in the last year.
Derek Cribb, CEO of IPSE, commented on the matter and the impacts felt by the self-employed.
He said: “The latest ONS figures, which show 660,000 people have left self-employment in the last year, demonstrates the devastating impact of the pandemic on the sector.
“In the year since the first lockdown, the self-employed have suffered a shattering financial loss – especially the 1.5million who were excluded from Government support for much of this time.
“A large proportion of this group – particularly those working through limited companies – are also still excluded, with devastating financial consequences.”
When eligible, SEISS can provide financial support to the self-employed through grants which cover a percentage of trading profits.
In the Budget, the Chancellor announced the scheme would be extended to a fifth and final grant to help protect the livelihoods of the self-employed across the UK.
However, for some, the scheme as it currently stands does not do enough to help self-employed individuals.
Mr Cribb concluded by outlining his organisation’s recommendations on how to fix a rapidly spiralling situation.
He said: “We continue to call on the Government to look again at excluded groups while there are still damaging restrictions in place.
“Looking to the future, though, we also urge the Government to give the disproportionately hit self-employed sector the time and space to recover – with economic stimulus and not tax grabs.
“We therefore also continue to urge the Government to delay and rethink the coming changes to IR35 taxation. Instead of such damaging changes, we call on the Government to take a longer term view, and initiate a full review of how self-employment and self-employed taxation work in the country – with a view to simplifying this harmfully complex system.”
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