Trade bodies around UK combine to call on chancellor for COVID-19 support for ‘forgotten’ small business and self-employed

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A group of membership bodies, representing around 300,000 members ranging from optometrists, osteopaths and physiotherapists to market researchers and accountants, has joined forces to call for financial support for their forgotten members who have been overlooked for Government support.

These self-employed professionals and small businesses provide important services which have been badly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic but are struggling to access any of the existing schemes.

Each one of the seventeen organisations has spent the weeks since lockdown speaking with its members and voicing their concerns at the highest levels within government.  However, although the disciplines involved are diverse, the core issues affecting these small businesses are the same and the solutions for government relatively straightforward. The groups have decided therefore to join forces to send a strong and united message to the chancellor

The letter calls for the Government to allow directors of small businesses access to either the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) or Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS), to expedite the process of delivering funds under SEISS before it is due to go live in June, and to make the process of accessing Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans (CBILs) a smoother one.

“The letter references our many thousands of members that face acute challenges in keeping their businesses afloat. Behind these businesses are hard-working people supporting their families, paying taxes and contributing to the wider economy.  The impact of their disappearance would hit the country hard when it begins to emerge from the current pandemic.

Collectively the groups have welcomed the existing support and acknowledge the breadth of businesses these schemes already support but there are some very worrying gaps. The chancellor promised he would do “whatever it takes” yet, sadly, too many businesses are being left behind. For many small businesses, June is simply too late while other business owners who pay themselves minimal salaries need to have dividends treated differently.

We hope this diverse coalition of voices can use our collective strength to convince the chancellor to be true to his word and amend the existing schemes to cover and support all of these vital businesses and services that need it.”