Updated: Nov 3
Taxi driver and other Self-Employed workers will receive two more grants from the Government if they are eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). But when can these workers expect to be paid the first vital instalment?
Self-employed workers effected by the coronavirus pandemic last received government support in August as part of their second SEISS payment application.
In October, the Government announced an increase in the size of grant taxi drivers and other Self-Employed workers can claim. The claim will now jump from 20 percent of average profits to 40 percent, meaning the maximum grant will increase from £1,875 to £3,750 respectively.
At the start of November due to the planned four-week lockdown in England the Government have extended the support further to 80 percent in the month of November.
It will be available to anyone who was previously eligible for the SEISS grant one and grant two, and meets the eligibility criteria.
As SEISS grants are calculated over three months, the uplift for November to 80 percent, along with the 40 percent level of trading profits for December and January, increases the total level of the third grant to 55 percent of trading profits. The maximum grant will increase to £5,160.
In addition to the increase for November, payments will also be made more quickly with the claims window being brought forward from 14 December to 30 November.
A second extended grant will cover a three-month period from the start of February until the end of April 2021. The Government will review the level of the second grant and set this in due course.
During the original SEISS scheme, applications for the very first grant opened on 13 May which represented the March, April and May time period. That grant was worth 80% of the claimants average monthly trading profits, double the value of the next grant agreed by government, and was paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of profits, and capped at £7,500 in total.
The second SEISS payment application opened three months on from the first, on 17 August.
Whilst the increase in support to 40 percent was seen as a starting point in helping cabbies who have faced a severe downturn in work levels, taxi representatives are urging financial firms and the Government to also re-introduce payment holidays on taxi finance payments to assist cabbies through the period.
Steve McNamara, General Secretary of Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association (LTDA), told members: “We have been calling for an increase in the level of support for weeks and are happy to see that they are finally listening.
“We know this won't solve all the challenges members are facing, but hope it's a start. Over the next few weeks, we will be keeping the pressure up to help get you the extra support you need, whether that's further help from finance companies or more financial support as new Tier-2 restrictions continue to limit trade.”
Derek Cribb, CEO of IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed), said: “It’s welcome that the government has doubled SEISS to 40 percent of previous income. However, there are still deep structural problems with the scheme, which the government must urgently address.
“A third of the self-employed – including sole directors of limited companies and the newly self-employed – are still completely excluded from SEISS (and the proportion is even higher in the hospitality sector). This is an enormous omission and it is deeply troubling that the government has not addressed this.
“The gaps in the support have already led to the biggest drop in the number of self-employed on record – over 250,000 since the beginning of the year. With large parts of the country locking down again, this is only set to worsen as many forgotten freelancers face financial devastation. Government must act now and open up SEISS or other targeted support to these groups.”