Millions of self-employed workers are still looking for financial reassurances from the government to “avoid a cliff edge moment”, according to the Federation of Small Businesses.
The concern follows a boost given to millions of people employed by businesses. The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced the furlough scheme would be extended by a further four months with workers continuing to receive 80% of their current salary.
However, nearly five million self-employed workers remain unsure about their immediate futures, with their government provided Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) package set to end in less than three weeks.
Currently those who are eligible for the SEISS will be able to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their average trading profits up to a maximum of £7,500, which is the equivalent of three months’ profits backdated to the beginning of March. The payment is due to be paid in a single instalment later this month to help cover some of the losses caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, but there has been no further guarantee of support beyond that.
Martin Lewis, a TV presenter and financial expert, highlighted the issues by putting the following question to the Chancellor via social media: “Dear @RishiSunak we now know, thankfully, employees will be covered until October. Yet the self-employed only have 3 weeks of left on their support scheme.
“My mailbag is swamped with Qs on it. Pls tell us if that'll be extended too or at least when you'll tell us?”
Whilst the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) supported the Chancellor’s extended help for the employed, they expressed their concerns for the self-employed.
Mike Cherry, National Chairman of the FSB, said: “Our five million-strong self-employed community is also seeking reassurances about the measures that will be taken to avoid a cliff edge moment where income support is concerned.
“Many have benefited from the hugely ambitious income support scheme that was established for them – some have not – but they will all need additional help from this government over the coming months. Policymakers may have to look very closely at additional hardship funds for those that are currently falling through the gaps.”