Millions of self-employed workers whose livelihoods have been affected by coronavirus can claim a second payment of up to £6,570 from today.
The second stage of Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) is now open for applications.
More than 2.7 million people benefited from the first stage of the SEISS, with the government handing out £7.8bn of grants to help self-employed people through the coronavirus crisis.
However, HMRC revealed last week that thousands of people in receipt of the first grant have been overpaid due to a miscalculation.
Those eligible will now be able to receive a second and final grant worth 70 per cent of their average monthly trading profits, with the money set to land in their bank accounts within six working days of making a claim.
Chancellor 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.”
HMRC will contact all potentially eligible customers to advise them that they can claim for a second SEISS grant.
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. The scheme closes on 19 October 2020.
Excluded and forgotten
However, an estimated 3 million self-employed workers are excluded from government support. These include:
- The newly self-employed and new businesses
- The self-employed with profits above £50,000
- Workers in less than 50 per cent self-employment
- New parents on parental leave
- Workers on PAYE freelance short-term contracts
- Low investment start-ups
- Small limited company owner-directors
Many people who fall into these categories have had little or no income or revenue for the past five months, with no prospect of change on the horizon.
Campaign group ExcludedUK has been lobbying the government for these people to be offered support from the government.
Another group, ForgottenLtd, is asking for help for small limited company directors.
Gina Broadhurst, founder of ForgottenLtd, said: “The launch of the second SEISS grant today is a harsh reminder of the disparity between support schemes. The self-employed have been able to access grants and continue to work. For those trading as limited companies support has been minimal and subject to the owner director ceasing all work in their company.
“Things are becoming acutely critical now. The lack of meaningful government support for the last five months means that there is a tsunami of closures, insolvencies and job losses imminent. With up to 7.5 million jobs at risk the government is playing a game of roulette with very high stakes.
“The #ForgottenLtd campaign are calling for the government to consider a rescue package to prevent this irrevocable damage. The impact will be felt far beyond the small businesses themselves, with damage to communities across the UK. The lower tax base, higher welfare costs and burden on the NHS will wreak economic havoc.”