A welcome reprieve for hard pressed self-employed says FSB.
Responding to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s pledge of financial support for the self-employed impacted by the coronavirus crisis, FSB NI Head of External Affairs, Roger Pollen has welcomed the move.
Commenting, Roger Pollen said: “Over the last number of weeks self-employed people have seen support introduced for employee incomes and grants for some businesses, but have felt left behind as they have seen their own incomes dry up because of behavioural changes in light of the coronavirus.
“It is therefore welcome that the Chancellor has brought forward a package for self-employed people. FSB has been at the sharp-end of negotiations with the Government in recent days, arguing for this package to be as generous as possible.
“While what has been announced is not perfect, and will not deliver for everyone, it does provide income for our most hard-pressed self-employed – taxi-drivers, hairdressers, plumbers, electricians, and many more – who will have seen work disappear as people ‘socially distance’.
“This is an incredibly challenging situation for everyone. While the healthcare response is paramount, overcoming the economic disruption also requires a rapid response in the interests of jobs and future growth.
“Today’s announcement will give hope to many hard-working, self-employed entrepreneurs, and it is important that the scheme is ready on-time and delivered as soon as possible. As this will be delivered through the self-assessment system, it is vital that any late-filers submit their 2018-2019 return, right now, or they risk missing out.”
Ministers welcome steps to protect the self-employed.
Economy Minister Diane Dodds and Finance Minister Conor Murphy have welcomed the support package for self-employed workers that was announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak today.
The measure means that self-employed workers can receive 80% of their taxable profit over the last three years capped at £2,500 per month. It will apply to those with trading profits below £50,000 per year.
Minister Dodds said: “This is a much needed measure which we have been asking for on behalf tens of thousands of people in Northern Ireland and I welcome it.
“The self-employed and sole traders have been waiting to receive the help. Previous schemes announced by the Treasury did not apply to them. So it is heartening that those workers – in all areas of our society – can now access the vital funds they need to keep going until this crisis ends. This will have a positive impact on many self-employed workers”
The Minister added: “My priority is to mitigate – as best we possibly can – against the worst effects on our communities.
“Our local Executive, as well as the government in London, have already announced several measures to help; interruption loan schemes, rates support, deferring income tax payments and deferring VAT payments. The Job Retention Scheme which provides up to £2,500 a month to those employees not working and increases to both working tax credit and universal credit by £1,000 per year will also help to protect our most vulnerable.
“As well as this, the first payments in the small business support grant schemes will reach recipients next week.”
The Minister concluded: “We will continue to do everything we can to protect the livelihoods that support our families and communities.”
Minister Murphy said: “Along with my Executive colleagues I have been pressing the Treasury to support the self-employed. While today’s announcements is welcome it is concerning that these workers won’t receive this until June.
“I intend to raise this with the Chief Secretary to the Treasury tomorrow while also seeking clarity on the eligibility for the Job Retention Scheme and hope that he moves urgently to provide this.”
IoD responds to Chancellor’s announcement of self-employment support.
Responding to the Chancellor’s announcement of support for the self-employed, Jonathan Geldart, Director General of the Institute of Directors, said: “The Government has taken a much-needed step forward on support for the self-employed, many of whom have seen business evaporate due to the outbreak, and have as much need for support as employees.
“The Treasury has worked at pace to overcome the challenges in making this announcement, and is seeking to listen to the voice of our members about the impact the coronavirus outbreak is having on the economy.
“Support cannot reach these people fast enough. The system must strip back bureaucracy where it can, and proving eligibility must be straightforward. We welcome the principle that in these extreme circumstances incomes should be protected up to a certain level for both employees and self-employed.
“But it’s not clear how it will help directors of the smallest companies who rely on dividends, only getting paid if their company makes a profit. Setting up a business is fraught with risk, many fail, but at the moment they are falling between two stools.
“If businesses and the self-employed are going to have to sit tight until Government support comes through, banks must step up. So far we’ve heard too many worrying reports of firms being turned away for crucial bridging finance. Government must work with financial institutions to ensure the message of forbearance gets through.”