It is good to see that Chancellor has announced the continuation of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) today. However, whilst any support that can be provided to individuals at this unprecedented time should be welcomed, as the ongoing support appears to be being provided on ‘broadly the same terms’ as the initial scheme, it probably means that the three million people who were ‘left behind’ by the Government’s original arrangements will continue to lose out on a going forward basis.
These ‘left behinds’ previously included:
- The owners of small owner-managed businesses, who traditionally pay themselves via dividends rather than salary (income from dividends has not been protected to date by the SEISS)
- Those who traditionally had jobs which involved moving from freelance contract to freelance contract on a short-term, peripatetic basis (e.g. many in the TV and theatre worlds)
- Those who have been working as full-time landlords (income from lettings have not been protected – it is classed as investment income rather than income from self-employment)
- Those who had actually only started their self-employment duties in the 2019/20 UK tax year (or in some cases in the 2018/19 UK tax year), who do not have reported income and accounts which can be used by the Government for SEISS grant purposes.
Whilst one can hope that the new SEISS will – once the full details are published – provide cover for all of these groups, this appears unlikely and the left-behinds will, realistically continue to be left behind. For a Conservative Government which is meant to support entrepreneurship, it appears illogical to continue ignoring such a large number of workers.