Monday 1 February 2021 / 11:40 AM Anneliese Dodds

Stop excluding 200,000 newly self-employed from support, Labour demands

Labour has called on the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to open his support scheme for the self-employed to the 200,000 people who only have a 2019/20 tax return.

The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) is currently only open to those with a trading profit of less than £50,000 in 2018-19 or an average trading profit of less than £50,000 from 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19.

The Chancellor ruled out support for those who started their own business after 6 April 2019.

The official deadline for 2019/20 self-assessment tax returns passed at midnight yesterday (Sunday 31st January), although HMRC has said there will be no penalty for later submissions up to 28 February.

Since the SEISS was launched, Labour has repeatedly called on the Government to tackle the holes in the scheme, which has seen millions excluded. Thus far the Chancellor has tried to justify not covering those without a 2019-20 tax return as a measure ‘to minimise fraud’.

But now the deadline for 2019/20 self-assessment tax returns has passed, the Chancellor can no longer use the risk of fraud as an excuse not to extend his scheme to the 200,000 people who have so far missed out on any support during this crisis.

Anneliese Dodds MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, says:

“The Chancellor has been ducking gaps in his economic support schemes for almost a year now.

“Two hundred thousand people have been excluded simply because they moved into self-employment in the year before the pandemic.

“Self-employed people are the backbone of the British economy, which is why Labour has called repeatedly for the Chancellor to plug the gaps in his support schemes.

“After the worst recession and worst growth of any major economy, the Chancellor is letting them down.”