IPSE asks to widen support scheme to freelancers

The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) is calling on the government to open the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) out to more of the 1.6 million freelance workers who cannot access the programme.

IPSE has acknowledged that the scheme is “an essential lifeline” for the up to 3.4m self-employed who can access it and applauded the government’s move to extend it until August. However, IPSE contends that the number of people eligible for the scheme is a “far cry” from what was promised.

Statistics published by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) yesterday (11 June 2020) show that up to 3.4m of the UK’s 5m self-employed are eligible for SEISS. Of these, 2.4m claimed a total of £6.67bn between 13-31 May. The average award was £2.9k per claimant, HMRC said.

“The numbers benefitting from… SEISS are a far cry from the 95% of freelancers the chancellor initially promised. There are 5m self-employed people in the UK but… only up to 3.4m are eligible,” said Andy Chamberlain, IPSE’s director of policy. 

“This is because the scheme does not cover vital groups like freelancers who work through limited companies and the newly self-employed. There are also those whose incomes were over the threshold before the crisis, but who now find themselves with no income at all. We urge the government to do more for these groups, many of whom still have no sign of work coming in.”

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