The fifth Self-Employment Income Support (SEISS) grant is “unfair” and will leave workers out of cash, says MoneySavingExpert
Martin Lewis has highlighted that the fifth round of SEISS grants is set to cover eligible claimants for five months – from May to September.
However, it is capped at £7,500, meaning claimants will only get three months’ worth of trading profits.
The MoneySavingExpert has hit out at the Treasury calling it “completely unfair” and said it will leave many self-employed people out of pocket.
Unlike the previous four grants, the amount those eligible will get in the fifth grant will be based on turnover.
‘It doesn’t make sense’
A self-employed person whose turnover has reduced by more than 30 per cent may only get a grant worth 30 per cent of their three months’ average trading profit.
Applications for the fifth grant are due to open later in July.
Lewis said on ITV’s This Morning: “You get three months’ of average trading profits to cover a five-month period. If you think that doesn’t make sense, you’re right.
“It is completely unfair compared to the furlough payment.”
Lewis also pointed out that this is not the first time the Treasury has done this. The previous grants do not technically cover all the months the scheme has been active.
Self-employed income shouldn’t be viewed month-by-month
He said there has been nine months’ worth of grants for the self-employed to cover 1 March 2020 to 31 January 2021 – an 11-month period.
Lewis added: “They’ve done this before and it’s left many self-employed people rather frustrated by that system – but that’s the system.”
The Treasury previously commented on the missed months in the SEISS scheme, stating that it shouldn’t be viewed as a month-by-month replacement for income for the self-employed.
Lewis has urged people to claim what they can through the SEISS as soon as possible.
He said: “The last you’ve got to apply for this is 30 September, but of course most people are desperate for the money and the sooner you apply, the sooner it will be in your bank balance.”
Call for stimulus package for worst-hit group
Responding to the disparity in support, Fred Hicks, Senior Policy and Communications Adviser at IPSE said: “The self-employed have been disproportionately financially hit by the pandemic: that’s why throughout, we have stressed just how important it is that there is parity between freelancer and employee support.
“However, not only have there been substantial gaps in the support for freelancers, leaving out at least one million self-employed people: now freelancers are also missing months of support compared to employees.
“The full reopening of the economy will be a huge relief to freelancers: particularly in the worst-affected sectors, such as events and the creative industries. However, the sheer scale of the damage to the self-employed sector – which has shrunk by a staggering 14 per cent – means this cannot be the end of government involvement.
“Not only should it continue to ensure parity of support between freelancers and employees: it should also be ready to step in with a stimulus package to get the worst-hit groups back on their feet.”