Updated: Mar 7
Self-employed workers welcomed the confirmed extension of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) which will continue with a fourth and a fifth vital grant.
The Chancellor also announced that more than 600,000 people, many of whom became self-employed in 2019-20, may now be able to claim direct cash grants under SEISS.
Struggling self-employed workers, which includes the vast majority of taxi drivers, will be able to claim a fourth SEISS grant covering February 2021 to April 2021 valued at 80% of average trading profits, up to a maximum of £7,500.
There was no application opening date announced at the Budget, with further details expected imminently.
Workers were also buoyed by the news of a fifth SEISS grant which will provide support between May and September. The value of this grant will be based on the claimant's turnover.
The value of the grant will be determined by a turnover test, to ensure that support is targeted at those who need it the most as the economy reopens. People whose turnover has fallen by 30% or more will continue to receive the full grant worth 80% of three months’ average trading profits, capped at £7,500. People whose turnover has fallen by less than 30% will receive a 30% grant, capped at £2,850.
The fifth and final grant can be claimed from late July. Further details will be published in due course.
At today’s Budget, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said his immediate priority continues to be supporting those hardest hit, with extensions to furlough, self-employed support, business grants, loans and VAT cuts – bringing total fiscal support to over £407billion.
He also set out plans to drive jobs, growth and investment to help the economy rebound - and spoke honestly about the tough choices required to put the public finances on a more sustainable path.
Delivering the Budget in Parliament, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said: “This Budget meets the moment with a three-part plan to protect the jobs and livelihoods of the British people.
“First, we will continue doing whatever it takes to support the British people and businesses through this moment of crisis.
“Second, once we are on the way to recovery, we will need to begin fixing the public finances – and I want to be honest today about our plans to do that.
“And, third, in today’s Budget we begin the work of building our future economy.”
Derek Cribb, CEO of IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed), said: “After almost a year, this support will be a tremendous relief to hundreds of thousands of self-employed people who could not access SEISS because they had not yet filed a full tax return. We are delighted that the government has heeded our calls to get support to this struggling group.
“It is also very welcome that the Chancellor will be introducing a fifth SEISS grant for the UK’s self-employed. We hope these generous and welcome moves are early signs of more positives for freelancers in this Budget: it’s crucial that the Chancellor does not forget that there are other large groups of freelancers currently excluded from support – particularly sole directors of limited companies.”
Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chairman, Mike Cherry, said: “This Budget will help many small firms with their final push through to September, but there is little here to aid job creation or help people return to work. Ensuring the newly self-employed can now access support marks a big step forward – we’re pleased our campaign has been heard – but directors, who appear to have been left out yet again, will be incredibly disappointed.
“Thousands of small businesses are on the brink of collapse and thousands more are suffering from low confidence as cash reserves dwindle. They will welcome both the extension of flagship support schemes that have kept them going over the hardest year they have ever faced, as well as confirmation of new support measures around taxation, employment and cash grants.”