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SEISS can provide self-employed claimants with a taxable grant which is aimed to support them if their trade has been affected by coronavirus. While the scheme has undoubtedly helped millions, new statistics reveal that it has had a limited success rate.
This week, ONS statistics were analysed by the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), who found worrying findings on self-employed rates.
In August, the number of self-employed workers had fallen by 154,000.
On top of this, IPSE found that the number of self-employed had fallen by a record 238,000 in the three months to August.
ISPE argues that the likely cause of this drop is due to gaps in self-employment support.
As Derek Cribb, the CEO of IPSE, detailed: “The labour market statistics this month reveal an alarming and avoidable drop in self-employment.
“In a recession, we would usually expect self-employment to be flourishing as companies seek out flexible expertise.
“Instead, we are now seeing a drastic and continuing decline in the sector.
“This is almost certainly because of the glaring gaps in government support: next to nothing was done for limited company directors and the newly self-employed and now we are seeing the consequences.
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“The self-employed are vital for economic recovery, but huge swathes of the sector have been undermined and left behind.
“As a second wave of coronavirus approaches, government must do more.
“We urge the government to prepare a fair, flexible and focused extension of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme – for the sake not only of the self-employed themselves, but also the economy.”
Additional figures have been released today from the government which show just how essential SEISS has become.
It has been revealed that two million individuals have so far benefited from a second final round of grants.
This is a remarkable sum when the fact that second grants have only been available for a month or so is taken into account.
Despite this, IPSE went on to highlight that 1.5 million self-employed workers are excluded from the scheme altogether.
Andy Chamberlain, a Director of Policy at IPSE also responded to these numbers, sharing similar sentiments with his CEO: “SEISS has been a vital lifeline for those who are eligible and we strongly backed the decision to extend it for a second time in August.
“But now is not the time to withdraw support completely.
“Self-employed businesses are still reeling from the economic impact of coronavirus and many of them were excluded from SEISS because of its strict eligibility criteria.
“We are calling on government to introduce a new round of support which is focused, flexible and fair to ensure that struggling businesses – many of which missed out the first time – can access the help they need now.
“As a second wave of coronavirus approaches, local lockdowns and individual quarantining measures are inevitable. Government must do more to support businesses that will be impacted by these restrictions.”
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