Today the Labour Party has called on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to protect self-employed people by setting the fourth grant of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) at 80% of pre-crisis profits.
Despite today marking the deadline for applications to the third phase of the scheme, there are no details about how much the fourth grant will be, when applications will open or who will be eligible for it. Resulting in 2.4 million self-employed people currently relying on the SEISS scheme in the dark about future support.
More people are turning away from self-employment, with a separate ONS survey this week showing a 10% drop in the number of self-employed people last year, a fall of over half a million.
The first and second SEISS grants were paid at 80% and 70% of three months’ worth of average pre-crisis monthly trading profits respectively. The third grant was eventually paid at 80%, but only after weeks of uncertainty for applicants.
Roy Rickhuss CBE, General Secretary of Community, says:
“Millions of self-employed workers have been left to struggle financially for nearly a year during the pandemic. Despite repeated calls to protect workers who have fallen through the gaps, including from the Treasury Select Committee, there has been repeated inaction. The IFS has said there is “clear unfairness” in the system for self-employed people.
Community surveyed our self-employed members and almost 50% told us they were not eligible for support from the government; from this it is clear to us that the most vulnerable are most at risk. A further survey as part of our inquiry into the future of self-employment showed half of self-employed workers lost 60-100% of their household income in 2020.
The fourth grant must be set at 80% of pre crisis profits to remove uncertainty and the details of the grant must be announced immediately to provide reassurance for millions of self-employed workers through this turbulent time and to protect our future recovery.
The government must ensure parity for the self-employed for the remainder of this crisis. We call upon them to do the right thing and ensure that thousands more self-employed people are not plunged into further financial hardship as a result of this pandemic.”