Government Should Expand the Furlough Schemes to All Taxpayers

A large number of taxpayers are still not being helped by the Chancellor and face a bleak Christmas, say leading tax and advisory firm, Blick Rothenberg.

Stefanie Tremain, a director at the firm said: ‘The mainstays of the Chancellor’s Covid rescue plan, the self-employment income support scheme (SEISS) and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS, commonly known as the furlough scheme) have provided a lifeline for many taxpayers and businesses and the extension of both schemes is welcome, but still leaves a clear section of taxpayers continually excluded from help, and facing an uncertain and bleak Christmas.’

‘It is understandable that a line had to be drawn when drafting these measures, but as we approach 12 months of assistance for some there is increasing disparity between those helped and those excluded. The Government should now expand the schemes so that all taxpayers are able to receive some level of financial assistance.’

Stefanie said: ‘Under the current rules an individual that started trading in 2019–2020 or realised profits of more than £50,000, will not qualify for any financial help even though they, like any other small business impacted by Covid, may have seen their income fall off a cliff edge from March 2020 onwards.’

‘By comparison, a trader with profits of £49,999 could conceivably have received grants in excess of £21,000 by 31st January 2021. Similarly, by April 2021, it is entirely possible that some individuals may have been on furlough for a year or more, on a maximum potential gross salary of over £30,000. A year on furlough would, of course, bring its own stresses, but this is arguably a better position to be in than those taxpayers who have been continually ignored by the Chancellor’s rescue plan.’

Stefanie concluded that: ‘In addition, a self-employed individual can continue to work while in receipt of the SEISS grants, however a company director (as much of an entrepreneur as a self-employed trader) must decide whether to claim furlough and stop working full time or continue working to try and guarantee the survival of their business for the long-term benefit of them and their staff.’

‘The lines drawn may have seemed fair in March 2020, but as the whole country continues to feel the economic impact of Covid, two national lockdowns and numerous local restrictions, the government must now try and redress the balance and include the excluded.’