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Self employment campaigners have called for an increase in government support for those unable to work due to Covid restrictions.
Campaigners for the self employed have expressed anger that workers whose workplace is closed due to Covid restrictions will get significantly less government support than their employed counterparts.
The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed [IPSE] chose the closing day for applications to the second round of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) to warned that the difference in support for employees and the self-employed is “grossly unfair”.
The next round of SEISS, open from 1st November, will cover 20 per cent of self-employed earnings. The previous iteration of the scheme covered 70% of earnings. Under an extension of the Job Support Scheme, the government has pledged to pay 67 per cent of the wages of employees of businesses that are ‘legally required to shut’ for some period over winter as a result of coronavirus restrictions.
Andy Chamberlain, Director of Policy at IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed), said: “From tomorrow, self-employed people will no longer be able to apply for a grant covering 70 per cent of their earnings. From November 1, they will be in the grossly unfair position of being able to claim just 20 per cent, compared to 67 per cent for employees in locked-down areas.
“A third of self-employed people cannot even claim 20 per cent of their earnings – and remain hopelessly unsupported. Limited company directors, the newly self-employed and many others have been frozen out of support since the start of the pandemic and it is dismaying that, going into the second wave, the government still has not expanded the criteria of SEISS to include them.
“The gaps in support have already led to the biggest drop in the number of self-employed on record. Leaving these gaps unfilled and reducing the support for eligible self-employed people will accelerate this decline. The self-employed will be essential for economic recovery in the coming months and years, but they cannot perform this role if they are undermined and unfairly penalised by government policy now. We urge the government to rethink this and provide fair, comparable support to all self-employed people in need.”
IPSE has also expressed concerns over suggestions that the Chancellor is considering making the self employed to pay more tax.