Empowering the Freelance Economy

FSB Chair welcomes new self-employed grants but urges Sunak to give ‘Excluded’ access to funds

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The Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced today (22 October) that businesses affected by restrictions across the UK, will be given extra help to keep staff on with additional support through the Job Support Scheme including a drop in employer contributions to five per cent. Grants for eligible self-employed, will have been doubled from 20 per cent to 40 per cent of previous earnings.

Business grants worth up to £2,100 will be made available to help those that have been particularly affected sectors in high-alert level areas.

Responding to these announcements, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chair Mike Cherry, said: “At a time of immense struggle for many small businesses, these interventions will help to protect jobs, businesses and livelihoods. The Chancellor has shown a willingness to be flexible and adapt interventions as the second wave of the virus escalates.”

With Cherry believing that small businesses are “the lifeblood of our communities and the backbone of our economy” he says it is critical now more than ever that the government offer every possible means of support available for the months ahead.

“The Chancellor must be prepared to act again if this crisis continues to worsen,” said Cherry.

The furlough scheme is coming to an end in just a few days, therefore the expansion of the Job Support Scheme will help to reduce the burden on small businesses and give them a shot at surviving this crisis while offering a critical lifeline to millions of jobs. This should be helpful for small firms in all tiers of restrictions and businesses in all sectors.

Millions still denied support

Cherry admits that while the upgraded support for the self-employed is vital to helping those individuals, “there are still many who have been left behind.”

“Those excluded from income support throughout this crisis, especially company directors and those newly self-employed, are now facing a significant depression in trade caused by these new restrictions and in many cases have no business at all,” said the FSB Chair.

“They deserve to be part of this package of new support but have once again been ignored, the Chancellor should do all he can to address these shortcomings which are urgently needed,” he said.

Qdos CEO, Seb Maley, commented: “The Chancellor said today that ‘people are not alone’, but where is the support for 2m freelancers, contractors and individuals who work through their own limited companies? These measures are generous to businesses with premises, firms with employees and many sole traders, but offer very little – if anything – to millions of independent workers who have been all but abandoned by the government for more than 7 months now.

“These entrepreneurial and flexible workers will play an instrumental role in the economic recovery, which is why the support must be tailored to their needs.”

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