Two-thirds of self-employed in Coventry worry their business will not survive

Taiwo Owatemi MP is calling for support for the 3 million self-employed workers who have been excluded from the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

Taiwo Owatemi, MP for Coventry North West, is backing a call for the Government to provide targeted support for self-employed workers in the city.

Despite the Government’s Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) providing £7.8 billion of grants to freelancers, around 3 million self-employed workers have been excluded from the scheme according to campaign group Excluded UK.

Freelancers who pay themselves with company dividends or are paid via short-term contracts have been unable to get support through the SEISS.

Those who earned profits of more than £50,000 in the previous tax year have also been unable to access support, despite the same ceiling not applying to those on the Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme.

The scheme will also abruptly end at the end of October, with no plans yet to support those affected by local lockdowns going forward.

Ms Owatemi said that “without flexible, targeted support beyond the autumn, hundreds of thousands more self-employed workers will lose out”.

“This is avoidable, but the Government need to act now and leave no-one in Coventry behind”, she added.

The Labour MP surveyed her own constituents and found nearly two-thirds of self-employed workers in Coventry do not think their business will survive or will be doing even worse by May 2021.

“Coventry’s entrepreneurs and innovators don’t need a permanent helping hand, just targeted support to see them get back on their feet”, she said.

Secretary to the Treasury, Kemi Badenoch, indicated that the scheme is unlikely to be widened.

“The chancellor has acknowledged that the government has not been able to support everyone”, she said.

She explained that the self-employed are a “very wide mix of people, with a diverse mix of turnover and profits, even in normal times.”