The Chancellor will announce his Budget on Wednesday, and is expected to raise taxes on the self-employed. Last week, Mr Sunak was accused of refusing to acknowledge the gaps in his support for independent workers in the UK excluded from the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) Journalist and finance commentator David Prosser warned the self-employed shouldn’t expect SEISS to be made more accessible. Many have been excluded from support because of rules dictating claimants are ineligible if they hadn’t filed a tax return in the 2019/2020 financial year.
Mr Prosser wrote for Forbes last week: “As Rishi Sunak puts his final touches to the Spring Budget, due on 3 March, will he finally offer support to millions of self-employed workers and self-business owners hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic but denied help so far?
“Don’t bet on it: the Chancellor has so far proved remarkably – and inexplicably – unmoved by the plight of the roughly 2.3 million Britons who are missing out on help because of the small print of the Self Employment Income Support Scheme.”
Mr Prosser’s damning verdict comes as the Resolution Foundation found 14 percent of those who were self-employed prior to the pandemic had been forced to stop work entirely.
On top of this, 27 percent had seen their income drop by more than 25 percent.
Mr Prosser added: “Sunak might be forgiven for having overlooked certain groups in the rush to respond to the pandemic – but his repeated refusal to intervene once the problems were pointed out is indefensible.”
He also accused the Chancellor of adding “insult to injury” when he discovered that the Treasury had paid out £1.3bn to self-employed people who had not actually lost out during the crisis.
Director of Policy at The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), Andy Chamberlain, told Express.co.uk last month that SEISS should be made available to those who have missed out.
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.
The fourth SEISS grant has been confirmed, and will cover February to April, but details such as its cap remain unclear.
Applications for SEISS 3 closed last month – it covered 80 percent of average monthly trading profits, capped at £7,500 in total.
Between August 17 and October 31, 2020, HMRC received 2.3 million claims for SEISS.
These claims totalled £5.9billion with an average award of £2,500 per claimant.