The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) was created by the government to provide financial assistance to those who work for themselves. The scheme provides similar levels of support provided by the furlough scheme for PAYE workers.
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While there has been no announcement yet, it is fairly probable that Rishi will extend SEISS if the context calls for it.
Recently, he extended the furlough scheme to October and when he originally launched the self-employment scheme it was highlighted that it will be extended if need be, as quoted from the chancellor of the exchequer: “The government will pay self-employed people, who have been adversely affected by the Coronavirus, a taxable grant worth 80 percent of their average monthly profits over the last three years, up to £2,500 a month.
“This scheme will be open for at least three months – and I will extend it for longer if necessary.”
Despite the likelihood of an extension, there may still be fear among the self-employed that the funding scheme will close as May comes to an end.
There have been plenty of reports and “murmurs” of a coming announcement and Ed Molyneux, the CEO of FreeAgent, has commented on how impactful this could be: “The clock is ticking but the government has yet to give any indication that it will extend the emergency scheme set up to help self-employed people by paying up to 80 percent of their earnings.
“As funding is due to expire at the end of the month, there could be a massive income drop ahead for small businesses and independent workers who rely on this scheme to keep them afloat.”
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While there are more employed workers in the UK, the impact of the self-employed cannot be understated.
In April, the ONS released figures which showed just how vital the self-employed are to the country’s economy:
- At the end of 2019 there were more than five million self-employed workers in the UK
- Self-employed people represent 15.3 percent of all employment in the UK, up from 12 percent in 2000
- The self-employed support some of the UKs most vital industries, including construction, transportation, agricultural and related trades and media
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Worryingly, the same figures showed that 10 percent of the self-employed are aged 65 or over, compared with just three percent of employees.
This means that if the support scheme were to end, it could put some of the country’s most vulnerable people at risk (at least in terms of coronavirus risk).
Ed went on to comment on how important it is for people within this category to know where they stand: “Over 1.5 million people currently use this funding, so it is vitally important that they know what will happen in the weeks and months ahead.
“Small business owners are a catalyst for innovation in the UK, but in order to survive this period, they desperately need protection and support.
“While things are slowly heading towards a ‘new normality’, many small businesses are in no position to support themselves as they are either not operating fully, or cannot legally operate at all.
Because of the delicate situation, he concluded by calling on the government to not underestimate the consequences of inaction: “Efficient action is needed from the government at this time, and this must go hand in hand with clear communication.
“I urge the government to remember the delicate situation that many business owners are facing and not forsake a funding extension for any reason; the result could be catastrophic for our small business and freelance sector.”
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