Entrepreneurship experts propose new policy options to support the vulnerable self-employed and SMEs being excluded during the pandemic

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A group of leading entrepreneurship policy experts have joined together to express their concerns to government over those excluded from business support during the pandemic.

A group of leading entrepreneurship policy experts from 14 universities have joined together to express their concerns to government over the approaching one million small business owners excluded from income support during the pandemic.

Professor Julia Rouse, professor of Entrepreneurship at Manchester Met and member of the Decent Work and Productivity Research Centre, is one of the academics who has written a letter to MPs to propose a number of policy options to address the gaps in financial support for the self-employed and SMEs, including many directors, freelancers and contractors who are crucial to the success of the economy.

Policy reccommendations include:

  • Amending the Job Retention Scheme to allow company directors to furlough themselves but continue to work, or alternatively a monthly stipend of £1,000 to compensate for lost dividends to working Directors who take part of their income as PAYE
  • To include the self-employed who commenced trading after April 2019, HM Treasury could assess eligibility on the 2019-20 Self-Assessment returns and backdate payments
  • Devising an evidence-led threshold for the proportion of income from self-employment that provides eligibility for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), to avoid unfair disadvantage to those for whom self-employment is a vital part of their work portfolio
  • Eligibility for the SEISS for the self-employed earning over £50,000 could be capped, rather than making them ineligible for any support
  • Excluding past periods of maternity or paternity leave from self-employed support calculations.

These recommendations form a coherent package of amends which aim to make financial support fairer for all businesses and entrepreneurs and are being proposed to Ministers to urge them to bring entrepreneurship policy researchers to the table to address this pressing problem.

For more details on the recommendations, read the full letter to the government here

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