The potential union requires emergency assist for excluded self-employed
The Prospect Union, which recognizes the plight of the 3 million self-employed who are excluded from government support from Covid, has drawn up an emergency plan.
The Self-Employment Stabilization System (SESS) would build on the existing Self-Employment Income Support System (SEISS) and help millions of Britons who have fallen through the cracks of state support through no fault of their own.
Reasons for exclusion are that you are the managing director of a company or that you do not have to submit accounts to HMRC for three years.
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Potential Secretary-General Mike Clancy described the Treasury’s treatment of the 3 million self-employed excluded as “shameful” as the government has historically encouraged self-employment and entrepreneurship.
The SESS would fill existing gaps in the SEISS system and introduce sectoral funding in areas with a large freelance workforce such as the creative industries.
In particular, SESS suggests:
- Allow those who file tax returns in January 2021 to have access to the fourth round of SEISS
A Freelancers Fund designed to assist employers in sectors with a large freelance workforce (such as the creative industries) in recruiting freelance workers
- Enable those who earn less than half their income from self-employment or earn more than £ 50,000 per year to qualify for SEISS
- Introduction of a Directors Income Support Scheme as recommended by the Federation of Small Businesses
The minimum income limit for universal loans is permanently suspended until it is reviewed
- Keep the 80 percent SEISS rate for the fourth round of the SEISS.
- Implement a Kickstarter loan program to help those looking to get back into business during the pandemic. It would be repayable once the business becomes profitable and does not affect the recipient’s social security entitlement
Otherwise, Prospect warns, Britain will face a “rush” for self-employment, especially at a time when laid-offs should be encouraged to become self-employed.
“With the vaccine offering hope of a speedy return to normal, the cost of a few months of extra support must be weighed against the likely harm caused if no action is taken,” the report said.
> See also: City mayors warn of a mental health pandemic among the self-employed
While researching a report on the future of self-employment due to be released in February 2021, Prospect found that nearly two-thirds of the self-employed doubted wanting to work for themselves in the future.
Further results were that more than half of the self-employed had lost between 60 and 100 percent of their income that year.
Almost three quarters (73 percent) did not have access to universal credit, while 88 percent disagreed that the government’s financial support for Covid was commensurate with the tax paid.
Mike Clancy, General Secretary of Prospect, said: “The news that barely a third of all self-employed and freelancers are confident that they will continue to work this way should be a massive wake-up call to the government.
“The way they have been treated in this pandemic is a shame.”
“These workers have fueled our economy in recent years, and this flexible workforce has been hailed by ministers as the key to our prosperity. But the way they have been treated in this pandemic is a shame and will have ramifications for our ability to recover beyond that in 2021.
“In the long term, we need fundamental changes in the treatment of these workers. For now, the government must immediately listen to this investigation and put in place a system to stop the self-employment rush that its policies are causing. “
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