Chancellor gives hope to small firms and self-employed with flexible furlough and income support

Responding to new details about future plans for the job retention scheme (JRS) and self-employment income support scheme (SEISS), Federation of Small Businesses National Chairman Mike Cherry said:

“The Chancellor has today given thousands of small business owners the certainty they need to plan for the coming months. We’ve always said that extending the JRS and making it more flexible would be key to getting the economy back on its feet.

“By providing employers with the adaptability they’ll require as businesses adjust to a new normal, and bringing forward the flexible furlough launch date, the government is giving hope to small firms right across the UK. Delivery is now key, and new operational systems should be as streamlined as possible.

“Our five million-strong self-employed community will be greatly relieved to know that the income cliff-edge they were facing in two days’ time has now been removed. The hope is that more and more sole traders will be able to return to work safely as restrictions are eased. Policymakers have rightly recognised that self-employed business owners working in a lot of sectors – not least hair & beauty, events and travel – will be massively impacted by the current downturn for many weeks to come.

“More should now be done to help the newly self-employed. Those who have filed a 2019-20 tax return should be in scope for this fresh support, not just those who submitted for the 2018-19 year.

“There are still those, including limited company directors, who are excluded from the SEISS. We have this week written to the Small Business Minister with a range of new policy proposals aimed at helping this group off the back of a hugely challenging period. We look forward to his response.

“More widely, as we look towards recovery, the government should help small business owners who do the right thing. Many will struggle with the costs of putting safety measures in place after weeks of little or no revenue – back to work vouchers are one route through which to assist those in this position.

“The Treasury should also look again at statutory sick pay terms. Some of those who suffer from the coronavirus will face additional absences because of secondary health conditions further down the line. We hope the government will consider a full statutory sick pay rebate for those with under 50 staff covering multiple absences until the end of the year.”

About FSB
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB’s) mission is to help smaller businesses achieve their ambitions. As well as being the UK’s leading business campaigning organisation, FSB also offers its members a wide range of vital business services, including a 24/7 legal advice line, access to finance, cyber protection, events and a powerful voice heard in governments.

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