We've welcomed the Jobs Support Scheme in our response to the Chancellor’s winter economy plan.

However, the settlement put forward in the reconfigured Self-Employed Income Support Scheme still excludes a third of self-employed people, including the newly self-employed.

  • Chancellor Rishi Sunak shared his 'Winter Economic Plan' earlier yesterday
  • The furlough scheme will be replaced by a wage subsidy scheme to protect jobs 
  • SEISS continues but with a 20% cap on grants
  • One third of self-employed and others not eligible for SEISS continue to be excluded

Responding to the Winter Economy Plan, Kris Ambler, our Workforce Lead, said: “Without a doubt the hardest hit are again the self-employed, including our members working in private practice, who will have seen the support available to them reduced."

Self-employed support

Self-employed people hit by the coronavirus crisis will continue to receive Government support as new restrictions came into force earlier this week.

The Chancellor announced the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grant will be extended as he set out his winter plan in Parliament.

The initial lump sum payment will cover three months of profits from November to the end of January next year. However, the taxable grant will be capped at 20% of average monthly profits, up to a total of £1,875.

Those eligible will be able to apply for a second grant to cover February to the end of April. The move represents a huge reduction in the size of grants for self-employed workers available earlier in the pandemic.

In the first round, eligible people received a taxable grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits over the last three financial years. The grant - paid in a lump sum in June covering March, April and May - was capped at £2,500 a month, or £7,500 in total. In the second round in August, eligible people got 70% of their average monthly profits, capped at £2,190 a month.

Falling short

We're concerned the Chancellor again had nothing to say on support for those who were excluded from the first round of support measures, not least the newly self-employed and company directors, who remain without support.

Kris said: "While it's encouraging to think the Job Support Scheme could benefit some of our members, the support for the self-employed announced yesterday falls a long way short.

"It's right for the Chancellor to extend the SEISS, but the support has been described as woefully inadequate at a time when many businesses are unable to trade. Moreover, the settlement still excludes one in three people, some three million workers, among them self-employed counsellors and psychotherapists”.

Lobbying Government

“We've written to the Chancellor urging him to again consider making the existing package of financial support fairer and we now implore the government to come forward with an emergency relief package for these groups.

"Increasingly we’re hearing from members who, through no fault of their own, have been left with no support, and either signposted to Universal Credit or advised to get another job.

"It simply cannot be right that hundreds of people who are qualified and able to support businesses and people through economic recovery are being underutilised, and we’ve argued as much in our response to the government’s Comprehensive Spending Review."

BACP have recently joined forces with campaign group ExcludedUK, adding our voice to the many organisations, public figures and MPs who have urged the Chancellor to not forget the excluded.

Anneka Hicks, co-founder of ExcludedUK said: "It's extremely disappointing the new job support schemes and financial measures announced yesterday failed to address the support for the three million UK taxpayers who have been excluded from the government Covid-19 financial schemes for more than six months. 

"We're extremely concerned for our growing community of more than 45,000 individuals and small business owners in diverse industries and sectors, who continue to find themselves denied access to fair and equal support. As they face further financial hardship and debt through no fault of their own, it's inevitable the associated mental health crisis continues to grow.

"We're grateful for the support of BACP and its members, who we're working closely with in order to provide our community with the urgent support they require to help rebuild their confidence, and protect their emotional wellbeing, in order for them to ensure their businesses, livelihoods and careers have the best possible chance of recovery."

We'll continue to speak on behalf of our members to secure a fairer settlement and we're committed to supporting them through the difficult months ahead.

Contact Kris Ambler for more information on this article or to get involved in our campaign work.