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The Chair of the Treasury Select Committee, Mel Stride, has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer appealing for more help for the self-employed and small businesses who have been overlooked by the Government’s coronavirus emergency bailout schemes to date. 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled a series of fiscal measures, designed to protect the futures of small businesses, jobs and the self-employed community during the COVID-19 lockdown. 

The Treasury Select Committee recently launched an inquiry into the economic impact of the coronavirus emergency on businesses and individuals. The evidence of this inquiry revealed an eligibility gap for the Government’s bailout schemes that thousands of small business owners and self-employed professionals currently fall into, including: 

Individuals working via Personal Service Companies (PSCs) 
Fresh calls were made for a combined income threshold of salary and dividends for the purpose of calculating entitlement under the furloughing scheme. 

Self-employed earning over the £50,000 threshold 
The Committee believes individuals earning over £50,000 will suffer unfairly under the proposed rules for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.  These rules suggest that those with average income over £50,000 will not be eligible for support. The Committee felt this would have a huge economic impact for those effected and that their “savings are their pensions”. 
The newly self-employed 
The self-employed scheme will not support those who commenced trading after 5th April 2019. The Committee suggested that the Chancellor must consider widening eligibility by accepting that 2019/20 results should be included in income calculations.

The Committee called for a temporary income protection for graduates in anticipation of future earnings. 
Individuals who began work, or were due to begin work, after the 28th February cut-off date 
The original cut-off date for furloughing of 28th February was considered unfair to this who have started work recently. The Committee recommended that a more flexible approach was needed here to support staff who will receive no income in the above scenario. 
Individuals on maternity or paternity leave 
Workers on maternity/paternity/sick leave during the last three years should be able to pick the highest of the last three years’ income instead of an average when claiming under the self-employed scheme. 

Mel Stride MP said: “The Chancellor has provided a detailed explanation of the support measures that he has announced so far. 

“However, as the summaries of evidence that we have published show, some people appear to have been left behind. 

“Whether it’s those who started a job after 28th February and who, therefore, have real difficulty qualifying for the Job Retention Scheme, those who draw down some of their income through dividends, or the time it will take for payments to reach individuals and businesses, it’s clear that urgent action is needed.” 

The Treasury Select Committee’s inquiry also found that funding from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) is failing to reach those small businesses that need it the most. 

“While the Chancellor said that ‘no-one will be left behind’, we need to ensure that everyone is included in this statement and that all sectors are supported and protected so they remain intact, fully functioning and working hard when the recovery does come,” said Mr Moore. 

The inquiry highlights “swamped” call centres with funding requests “unable to get a credit decision” in a swift and effective manner. 

TaxAssist Accountants reaches out to the Chancellor for more self-employed aid 

Daren Moore FCCA, Group Commercial Director for TaxAssist Accountants, has announced our support to raise awareness for those small business owners and self-employed professionals currently overlooked for the financial aid they desperately need to survive. 

Within the network’s urgent five-point open letter to the Chancellor, it raised a series of key issues that need addressing. These mirror the subsequent findings of the Treasury Select Committee. 

“While the Chancellor said that ‘no-one will be left behind’, we need to ensure that everyone is included in this statement and that all sectors are supported and protected so they remain intact, fully functioning and working hard when the recovery does come,” said Mr Moore. 

For our latest COVID-19 news and guidance for your business, visit our dedicated Coronavirus Hub.
We will be updating it regularly as we continue to monitor and digest all the latest information

Date published 16 Apr 2020 | Last updated 23 Sep 2020

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