Government should widen the employment support schemes

A House of Commons Treasury Committee recommendation calling for more support for those who are not currently eligible for either of the Government’s  for employees and the self-employed should be adopted without delay, said leading tax and advisory firm Blick Rothenberg.

Robert Salter, a director at the firm, said: There are still too many people falling through the gaps, around one million getting no support whatsoever. While credit should be given to the Government for having developed the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS), it was always clear that these schemes were designed for simplicity and administrative ease rather than for fairness.

‘The Treasury Committee’s push to have the Government widen these schemes to those workers who were previously left behind should be welcomed by all those who appreciate fairness and justice in the tax and benefits systems.’

He added: ‘The Committee recommends extending Government support to groups such as those employees who started (or were due to start), employment in March 2020 or afterwards, those workers who genuinely go from short-term engagement to short-term engagement (e.g., free contract workers), Personal Service Company directors who pay themselves via dividends rather than salary and those self-employed individuals who started self-employment in 2019–2020 (or in some cases part way through the 2018–2019 tax year).

‘They also say that the Government should manage the risk of fraud with these cases, but that it is unlikely to present a problem in most of these situations.’

He concluded that: ‘Established, freelance contractors who have been working for a number of employers on a contract by contract basis would usually have submitted tax returns in previous years. Similarly, established directors of Personal Service Companies would have a similar tax history and would have been filing tax returns to report their dividend income in previous years. As such, many of the left behinds are, from a Revenue data and information perspective, in exactly the same position as other individuals already eligible for CJRS and SEISS support.’


Image credit: Freepik