Loop­hole could deny self-em­ployed sup­port cash

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Business - By Melissa Law­ford and Mar­i­anna Hunt

‘I’m a sin­gle mum of two boys, and sud­denly I was won­der­ing how the hell I would look af­ter them’

THOU­SANDS of self-em­ployed peo­ple who re­turned to work af­ter lock­down face be­ing left out of a new res­cue scheme.

A loop­hole means work­ers who got back to busi­ness in early July are at risk of be­ing un­able to claim un­der the pro­gramme launched by Rishi Su­nak, the Chan­cel­lor.

The Self-Em­ployed In­come Sup­port Scheme cov­ers the three months to Au­gust and will pay 70pc of av­er­age earn­ings. It suc­ceeds a scheme to plug lock­down losses be­tween March and May, which paid 80pc.

But busi­ness own­ers are only el­i­gi­ble for the lat­est grants if they were “ad­versely af­fected” on or af­ter July 14.

Tonya Wright, a hair­dresser who lives in Nuneaton, War­wick­shire, said: “Hav­ing this win­dow feels like they’re try­ing to catch out the self-em­ployed. I’m a sin­gle mum of two boys, aged 13 and 10, and sud­denly I was won­der­ing how the hell I would look af­ter them.”

Matt Dowl­ing of The Free­lancer Club, a jobs direc­tory for self-em­ployed work­ers, said: “The mes­sag­ing from the Gov­ern­ment has yet again been un­clear and comes very late in the day.”

A Gov­ern­ment spokesman said: “While you must be ad­versely af­fected be­fore July 13 to qual­ify for the first SEISS grant, and on or af­ter July 14 to qual­ify for the se­cond SEISS grant, the grants do not re­late to a pe­riod of months or seek to com­pen­sate or re­place lost in­come over a par­tic­u­lar time frame, and al­low the self-em­ployed to con­tinue to work if con­di­tions al­low.

“The grants pro­vide a lump sum to sup­port el­i­gi­ble self-em­ployed in­di­vid­u­als whose busi­nesses have been ad­versely af­fected by coro­n­avirus.”

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