The news of a third national lockdown in England will come as a blow to many businesses across the country, with many having to close their doors or reduce trading due to the pandemic. The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) is expected to be in place until April 2021, and under the scheme the Government provides taxable grants to self-employed individuals impacted by coronavirus.
Currently SEISS is only open to applications for the scheme’s third grant, and the deadline to apply for grant three is January 29, 2020.
The SEISS scheme offered two grants last year, but the scheme was extended until April 2021 in light of ongoing restrictions in the UK.
The third grant also underwent many changes in terms of its offering, with the Government finally deciding it would be worth 80 percent of average monthly trading profits due to the second national lockdown in November.
The third grant covers the three-month period of November 2020 to January 2021 and is capped at £7,500 in total. The grant is paid in one instalment.
Applicants must also declare that they intend to continue trading, and that they “reasonably believe” there will be a “significant reduction” in their trading profits.
Millions of self-employed people have been excluded from SEISS since it was first introduced in March 2020.
As a result, the Government has faced significant pressure to extend the eligibility criteria of the scheme.
At the moment, self-employed people who trade through a limited company or trust cannot claim SEISS.
Self-employed people who earn more than £50,000 in profits, and a number of newly self-employed people, have also been excluded from the scheme.
This week Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said it was “totally unforgivable” that millions of self-employed people have not received “any meaningful support” from the Government during the crisis.
He told the Commons: “There are big gaps and big questions.
“First, why is there still nothing to help the three million self-employed who have been excluded from the very start?
“That was unfair in March of last year, it was even more unfair in the autumn, it is totally unforgivable now.
“It may well be a whole year that that group have gone without any meaningful support. That gap needs to be plumbed.”
Chancellor Rishi Sunak recently said in an interview with Sky News that he would “take stock” of the Government support packages in the March 2021 budget, and many self-employed people will be hopeful that SEISS eligibility criteria will be taken into consideration.
Mr Sunak said: “We’ll have a budget in early March where we’ll take stock of all the various support that we’ve put in place, including today’s announcement of cash grants, and then review and set out the next stage of our economic response to coronavirus at that point.”