Writing to the Chancellor following his statement last week, Imran has criticised the lack of support for self-employed workers and has urged the Government to reconsider the rate of the Self-Employed Grant.
In his statement to the House of Commons last Thursday, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak MP, announced that the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) would reduce the taxable grant provided by the Government to the self-employed to just 20% of average monthly earnings from November.
However, Imran has declared that this will not be enough to support Bradford’s self-employed workers, with many desperate constituents who are self-employed having already reached out to describe just how badly the reduction to 20% will damage their businesses.
The SEISS was established in March this year to support those self-employed workers who faced a significant downturn in profits and restrictions on trading due to the restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, and originally covered 80% of average monthly earnings when it was introduced.
According to statistics published by the Government, around 4,300 claims were made up to 31 July 2020 in Bradford East out of a total of around 5,300 who were eligible, delivering up to £9,100,000 in support. In the whole Bradford District, around 19,600 claims were made up to the same period out of a total of around 24,600 who were eligible, delivering up to £45,700,000 in support.
Speaking on the Chancellor’s announcement for self-employed workers, Imran said:
“Self-employed workers have been some of the hardest hit by the impact of this crisis, and whilst many have now returned to work, they still face significantly reduced incomes because of a fall in trade and restrictions in place. Yet rather than help them get back on their feet, the Chancellor drastically slashed the support available.
“This reduced rate will simply be nowhere near enough for many self-employed workers who are already struggling, and to expect those who have seen no return to pre-COVID levels of trading to survive on just 20% of their average monthly income will prove to be woefully inadequate in protecting their jobs and livelihoods.
“Despite repeated warnings that the previous scheme excluded far too many of the self-employed, particularly freelancers and the newly self-employed, and having had all Summer to address this injustice, the new grant also fails to address this serious concern and has left many without any support at all.
“The Chancellor needs to recognise just how hard self-employed workers have been hit by Coronavirus and the Government’s restrictions, and I have therefore urged him to look again at the Self-Employment Grant to ensure that it better supports the self-employed through this crisis.”