SEISS: Rishi Sunak ‘must’ extend self-employed support as furlough lasts until April 2021

Martin Lewis provides advice on self-employed income support

SEISS is formally known as the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, and has been in place since earlier in the year. The scheme, which is the self-employed equivalent of furlough, is designed to provide support through grants which cover a proportion of average trading income. At the end of October, the Chancellor announced an extension to furlough and two further grants for the eligible self-employed.

But today, the Chancellor took yet another move to offer support, by extending the furlough scheme until April 2021.

However, the government has been warned that it “must” extend SEISS support in addition to its furlough gesture.

Such a move, it has been asserted, would ensure the self-employed receive parity with PAYE employees.

The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE) has urged the government to act as soon as possible to remedy the issue. 

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Andy Chamberlain, Director of Policy at IPSE, commented on the matter.

He said: “It’s right for the government to extend the furlough scheme.

“But it must not forget about the self-employed: it must extend SEISS too.

“Too often throughout the pandemic, the self-employed have been an afterthought in government policymaking, receiving later and patchier support.

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“At least 1.5 million self-employed have fallen through the gaps in government support – particularly directors of limited companies and the newly self-employed.

“We urge government to extend SEISS and also finally fix the gaps in it to get support to these still desperately struggling groups.

“As the extension of the furlough scheme shows, we are far from the end of this and the self-employed need just as much protection and support through the coming months as the rest of the workforce.”

SEISS will now go forward with two further grants to cover November to April for the self-employed.

The third grant is taxable, and worth 80 percent of a person’s average monthly trading profits, capped at £7,500 in total.

The fourth grant has not yet opened, but the online service to claim the third is now available. 

Britons must make a claim for the third grant on or before January 29, 2021 in order to be eligible to receive funds. 

The Chancellor today commented on the government’s decision to extend the furlough scheme for an additional month.

He said: “Our package of support for businesses and workers continues to be one of the most generous and effective in the world – helping our economy to recover and protecting livelihoods across the country.

“We know the premium businesses place on certainty, so it is right that we enable them to plan ahead regardless of the path the virus takes.

“This is why we are providing certainty and clarity by extending this support.”

However, the government also came under fire from the Opposition, which critiqued the “last minute” nature of the move.

Shadow Chancellor Annelise Dodds, stated Mr Sunak had left businesses “in the dark, with less than 24 hours before they have to issue redundancy notices”.

She asserted Mr Sunak had left the UK with the “worst recession of any major economy”. 

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