The Chancellor’s summer statement was a ‘missed opportunity’ to increase financial support to help counsellors and psychotherapists who are playing a vital role in the nation’s coronavirus recovery.
Rishi Sunak announced a raft of measures today to support the UK’s economic recovery, focussing on employment and protecting jobs and supporting the hospitality and tourism sectors.
We’re disappointed that it did not include more support for self-employed and for those who have slipped through the cracks of previous coronavirus financial assistance packages.
Temporary VAT reductions were announced for the hospitality sector, but not, as we’d urged, a removal of VAT on counsellors’ and psychotherapists’ services.
We’ll continue to campaign and lobby policy-makers for change that will ensure our members are able to sustain their businesses and continue their crucial work during these difficult times.
We’ve had encouraging conversations with politicians across the UK regarding our Covid-19 campaign and the policy proposals contained within it.
We’re determined to fight for a better deal for our members whose businesses have been impacted by the pandemic.
Speaking about today’s summer statement, Kris Ambler, our Workforce Lead, said: “We recognise the Government has to balance priorities in helping the economy move forward, but we believe this summer statement was a missed opportunity.
“We know many of our members’ businesses have been impacted by the pandemic, which is why we’ve been pushing for further support for self-employed people and for those who have been excluded from existing schemes.
“Our members can only work to support others if they themselves are supported. This is a message we’ll continue to push through our meetings and discussions with policy-makers, commissioners and partners.
“It was also disappointing that while the focus of this announcement was on jobs and employment, there was no mention of investment to support the mental health of both those in work and those who are struggling because of unemployment.”
Our current projects also include campaigning campaigning alongside organisations including the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) on behalf of self-employed members in Private Practice, calling for an extension and changes to the self-employed income support scheme (SEISS), which opens for a second round of applications in early August.
Kris also highlighted the Local Discretionary Grants, which are provided through local authorities and have been designed for those who may miss out on other support.
He added: "These grants, provided through local authorities, haven’t been as flexible as many had hoped. However, recent changes have seen applications extended until the 13th July and some areas have widened the catchment of businesses that can apply. Where an application is made from a self-employed earner working from home who is unable to claim the self-employed Income Support Scheme, the award will be based on potential income loss as a result of Covid-19 up to a maximum of £5,000."
If you're looking to apply for one of these grants, we'd urge you to check the eligibility criteria in your local authority area and seek guidance before submitting an application.
Have you applied for any of the financial support measures made available by Government? Share your experience and views with us at PublicAffairs@bacp.co.uk
Picture credit: Hansard TV
Our call to Chancellor to remove VAT on counsellors’ and psychotherapists’ services
We wrote to Rishi Sunak ahead of the summer statement
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.
Coronavirus and your business
Latest updates and information for members who are self-employed or work for small organisations