When the chancellor announced a scheme for the self-employed similar to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme most of the 5m self-employed in the UK breathed a sigh of relief even though it had been a long time coming.
It wasn’t long, however, before HMRC started to reject applications from self-employed people excluded from the scheme. As this chart explains approximately half of the self-employed – approximately £2.5m people – have received nothing at all because of a variety of exclusions aimed at reducing the number of people who can claim such as those whose businesses have only recently started and those who take most of their salary as dividends.
For many this has meant real hardship, particularly those with savings who are ineligible for Universal Credit.
This matters more than you might think. Small businesses (which most of these are) are the backbone of the economy; without them it would very quickly collapse. Without them the recovery will be harder and take longer.
And the human cost is even greater because these individuals have families, dependents and mortgages. Some are struggling to pay even for essentials such as food.
History will tell that unlike ‘the few’ who saved the country in 1940, the ‘forgotten few’ of 2020 have been abandoned. You probably know some of them. They don’t live in big houses and work in large offices. They are in the community, trying their best to still earn a living.
Meanwhile the scheme is being extended until 19 October 2020 for the fortunate few who will be able to claim a second and final grant from 17 August 2020 when the online service will be available.
This grant will be a taxable grant worth 70% of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering a further 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £6,570 in total.