Second SEISS opens as more than two million miss out

Despite government claims that 2.7m self-employed workers have benefited from £7.8bn in SEISS grants, support is still not available for those that fall through the cracks

The government today (17 August) launched the second wave of its Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), which will be worth up to £6,570 for those eligible to claim the grant.

But IPSE, the association of independent professionals and the self-employed, called on the government to reopen and extend the scheme for those not covered by SEISS such as the newly self employed and limited company directors. The association believes up to 2.5 million could be miss out on the grant.

The government said that more than 2.7m benefited from the first stage of the SEISS, with the government handing out £7.8bn of grants to help them through the crisis. Those eligible will now be able to receive a second and final grant worth 70% of their average monthly trading profits, with the money set to land in their bank accounts within six working days of making a claim.

Anyone whose self-employed business has been adversely affected by coronavirus since 14 July is eligible for the scheme. HMRC will contact all potentially eligible workers to advise them that they can claim for a second and final SEISS grant.

However, the Treasury confirmed that the eligibility criteria remains the same as for the first grant, with people needing to have had trading profits of no more than £50,000, making up at least half of their total income.

Derek Cribb, CEO of IPSE, said: ‘There were too many glaring gaps in SEISS, such as limited company directors, the newly self-employed and PAYE freelancers. Two and a half million people claimed for SEISS between May and June, just half of the total five million self-employed in the UK. Now, as the number of self-employed has fallen sharply for the second quarter in a row, we are seeing the consequences.

‘With the risk of a second wave looming, government must be ready to not only re-open SEISS, but also extend it to the desperately struggling forgotten self-employed. Historically, self-employed people have been essential for kickstarting the economy in recessions, but they cannot do this if they are driven out of business before they can play their part.’

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said: ‘Our self-employment income support scheme has already helped millions of hard-working people, whose get up and go drive is crucial to our economy. It means that people’s livelihoods across the country will remain protected as we continue our economic recovery, helping them get back on their feet as we return to normal.’

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