Wednesday, August 5, 2020

News: MP publishes report into support for self-employed


A report spearheaded by Wentworth and Dearne MP, John Healey, has shone a "harsh spotlight on how tough trading continues to be for self-employed workers and how flawed the Government's support scheme has been during this pandemic."

The coronavirus crisis has had a big impact on the local economy and stopped many self-employed people from working. In Rotherham and Barnsley, 28,000 people are registered as self-employed.

The survey asked local entrepreneurs how Covid-19 has affected their business, what issues they have faced accessing Government funding and what other support they'd like the Government to provide to help see them through.

300 people responded, mainly from the local area, and the headline findings are that 97% of businesses responding have seen a loss of income due to lockdown and that four in five have had no help from the Government's Self-employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

Of those that did receive a grant via the scheme, three quarters said it was not enough to keep their business going during lockdown and half of those receiving a grant think that their business will be at risk when the SEISS ends in August.

13% of businesses responding have had to close permanently.

John Healey MP, said: "I was concerned that the Government’s financial support package throughout this crisis was leaving out hard-working self-employed workers in favour of supporting large firms and PAYE employed workers. And I want to make sure it's not just big business that survives Covid-19.

"The survey's findings are stark in the extent to which the self-employed have struggled during lockdown, largely without financial support from the Government. It highlights the difficulties that have faced our self-employed workers across this country during lockdown, the flaws in Government assistance and the problems they face as we begin to slowly leave lockdown and try and resume a more normal life."

Healey has written to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, challenging him to live up to his promise of supporting the self-employed and those who need it most.

Conclusions show the need for the Government to make changes to the scheme, adding in flexibility for those becoming self-employed since April 2019, and those with savings, as well as rethinking the "one-size-fits-all" approach to scaling back the SEISS as some traders are still unable to resume anything like "normal" business.

Images: John Healey MP


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