Our Workforce Lead Kris Ambler says the Chancellor’s announcement of financial support for the UK’s self-employed during the coronavirus crisis will be welcomed by some.
But he says for many others the measures will fall short of a guaranteed minimum income and present difficulties in structuring their finances until the payment arrives.
The Chancellor’s announcement comes after we joined IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed, and many other organisations in calling for the Government to implement a Temporary Income Protection Fund to support the self-employed. A petition has been signed by more than 160,000 people.
We’ve also joined forces with UKCP and BPC in lobbying Government to ensure there’s a workforce to deliver a comprehensive mental health response to the crisis; to tackle labour market barriers and direct the public to the very best mental health support. Join our campaign.
Kris said: “We’re working as hard as we can for our members, under testing circumstances, doing all we can to represent their needs at this incredibly difficult time.
“Through our active campaigning and work with employers we’re doing all we can to improve the employment landscape, but we won’t rest on our laurels, there is still much more to do.”
The Chancellor Rishi Sunak guarantee self-employed who have been adversely affected by coronavirus a taxable grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits over the last three years, up to £2,500 a month.
This scheme will be open to people across the UK for at least three months and will be extended for longer if necessary.
The Chancellor said the scheme will be available at the beginning of June at the latest. If you’re eligible, HMRC will contact you directly and ask you to fill out an online form, and then the money will be sent directly into your bank account.
Anyone who missed the deadline in January has four weeks from the announcement (March 26) to submit their tax return. For more details, visit the Government's Self-Employment Income Support Scheme web page.
Kris said: “Many self-employed people will be relieved. These new measures will provide essential support to those facing significant uncertainty and loss of income.
“Our members make an immense contribution to our society and will play a critical role in the UK’s recovery once we overcome the worst of the virus.
“However, for many others these measures won’t go far enough or come soon enough.
“People who won't be helped by this scheme are those who structure their arrangements, so they trade via a limited company or a personal services company.
“The biggest problem though will be how our members, many of them self-employed, will structure their finances to wait until June for this payment to arrive.
“For many the measures announced last week, which include delaying the next self-assessment tax payments and ensuring that self-employed people on low incomes can access up to £94 a week through the benefits system, fall some way short of calls for a guaranteed minimum income to support self-employed people during these troubling times.”
Adam Pollard, our Product Manager, added: "We’re working hard to help our members navigate their way through the crisis.
“To this end we’re proactively engaging with employers keen to extend their existing employee support, offering telephone and online counselling to remote workers and those in isolation.
“These paid short-term opportunities are all advertised on our jobs board, a resource only available to BACP members.”
Coronavirus and your business
Latest updates and information for members who are self-employed or work for small organisations
Guidance and resources for members
Tackling the mental health consequences of coronavirus
Back our COVID-19 campaign to reaffirm the critical role that counselling and psychotherapy needs to play in supporting the nation through the coronavirus crisis and in helping to repair it afterwards.