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29 May, 2020 Open access

TUC calls for extension of Self Employment Income Support Scheme

'Consistent and necessary' to extend scheme in line with extension of Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, says Union body

The TUC has called for the extension of the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) which is due to end at the end of May 2020.

Highlighting that Chancellor Rishi Sunak has already extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) - which covers the wages of employed workers - until the end of October 2020, the TUC says that -

'There are large parts of the economy that have little prospect of reopening in the near future. This includes substantial elements of the performing arts such as theatres, live music venues and occupations reliant on tourism.

Meanwhile, there has been no change to advice for those having to shield for health reasons...

It is therefore consistent and necessary to provide a similar extension for those self-employed workers who can show their ability to operate has been significantly affected by the pandemic. We need to protect their livelihoods now.'

The TUC also calls for the Chancellor to extend the SEISS to groups who are not covered at present - including newly self employed workers who have not filed a tax return in 2018/2019 and those who combine employed and self-employed work - commenting that -

'Many of those missing out are in genuine self-employment. But some of these problems stem from the increasingly fragmented nature of our labour market. People in low paid, insecure work, have been forced to turn to outside ‘gigs’ to top up an inadequate income. Too many businesses have substituted direct employment for the tax advantages to business of taking people off the books, or forced freelance workers into setting up a personal service company. And many casual workers paid through the PAYE system are finding that their employers don’t value them enough to furlough them.'

NB - Mr Sunak is expected to announce changes to the operation of the CJRS for the period from August to October 2020 later today.

For more information, see Protect self-employed workers and extend the Self Employment Scheme from tuc.org.uk