Excluded UK co-founder says budget is "only a teeny tiny concession" to self-employed

3 March 2021, 22:11 | Updated: 3 March 2021, 22:42

By Maddie Goodfellow

The co-founder of Excluded UK has told LBC Rishi Sunak's budget is "only a teeny tiny concession", saying the way self-employed people are being treated is still "terribly unfair".

Rachel Flower, co-founder of Excluded UK, told LBC: "On the data we've got, the Chancellor's measures will only help around 150,000 of the estimated 3.8 million taxpayers, so it's a teeny tiny concession.

"Who it brings in is the newly self employed, so those who set up a business being self-employed in the 18 months prior to the pandemic who previously couldn't claim because they didn't have a 2018-19 tax return - so they got nothing.

"It's terribly unfair, and we have been saying for months that people should be able to claim based on the job they were doing in that year.

"And let's not forget that of the small amount of people who can now get the grant, they only get it going forward, and they won't get it in their bank accounts until April and there's no discussion at all about backdating it to bring them on an equal par with those who have been benefiting from the grants since way back in March.

"And it's nothing these people have done wrong, they've paid their taxes in exactly the same way as the people next door to them who has been claiming the grants and has been supported.

"That is why it has been causing division in society, it is terribly unfair."

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Ms Flower made the remarks after Rishi Sunak announced that 600,000 people who were newly self-employed last year will be added to the Self Employed Income Support Scheme.

In the Commons Mr Sunak said the support for self-employed workers will continue until September, with the fourth grant providing three months of support at 80% of average trading profits.

He noted for the fifth grant, people will continue to receive grants worth three months of average profits - with the system open for claims from late July.

Rishi Sunak said the full 80% grant will be given to people whose turnover has fallen by 30% or more, telling MPs: "People whose turnover has fallen by less than 30% will therefore have less need of taxpayer support and will receive a 30% grant."

On changes to the self-employed scheme, the Chancellor said: "When the scheme was launched, the newly self-employed couldn't qualify because they hadn't all filed a 2019/20 tax return.

"But as the tax return deadline has now passed, I can announce today that, provided they filed a tax return by midnight last night, over 600,000 more people, many of whom only became self-employed last year, can now claim the fourth and fifth grants."

Other measures in the Chancellor's Spring Budget included an extension to the furlough scheme and an increase in corporation tax.