The Chancellor is facing mounting pressure over the scheme, as strict rules have meant many self-employed workers are ineligible to claim support. Many self-employed business owners and contractors have been excluded from the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) because of strict rules. This group has been branded the “newly self-employed”, but many of these people have actually been working independently since the 2018/2019 tax year. If you did not do a tax return for 2018/19, rules currently dictate that you cannot claim support.
Andy Chamberlain, Director of Policy at The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), tells Express.co.uk that these people must be included in the fourth SEISS grant.
He said: “We are calling on the Government to include these people in the next round of SEISS, because they would have done a tax return by now.
“Because they have done that, HMRC has the information it needs in order to process those grant payments.”
SEISS 4 will cover the period from February to April, although it is not known yet how much this will provide.
The third grant covered 80 percent of average monthly trading profits, capped at £7,500.
Mr Chamberlain spoke of the frustration felt by those who have missed out as many self-employed workers have received generous support.
He continued: “The problem is, because of the arbitrary nature of the criteria, many have not been able to access SEISS.
“What we are seeing is wildly different experiences – Person A has been well looked after while Person B has not been very well looked after at all.”
With Government spending to fight the pandemic and the economic downturn approaching £300billion, many believe Mr Sunak will raise taxes in his March Budget.
There are fears that the self-employed will see their national insurance contributions hiked, a move that could prove controversial.
Former Chancellor Philip Hammond attempted to raise national insurance deductions on the self-employed in 2017, but faced significant backlash.
Mr Chamberlain tells Express.co.uk that tax rises on self-employed would be “unfair”.
He added: “People are in an extremely fragile state, and if they have managed to cling on now, the last thing they are going to need is an increased tax burden.
“This could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
“If we care about our employment rate, if we care about people’s business and if we care about the economy we should not be considering tax rises right now.”