Government Must Support Firms That Have Slipped Through the Gaps

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FSB Wales has called for Welsh and UK Government to commit to new support for start-up businesses, the more recently self-employed and Company Directors.

The FSB has a plan to support those groups of individuals that have previously fallen through the gaps of the various UK and Welsh Government support schemes:

  • Directors Income Support Scheme

There are a number of people that have not been able to access support. The situation has deteriorated since March 2020, and has now intensified further. Assisting company directors to save businesses and jobs is vital.

We call on UK Government to implement the Directors Income Support Scheme proposal from FSB, Forgotten Ltd and ACCA UK, which would provide a taxable grant calculated at 80% of 3 months average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment and capped at £7,500 in total. The support would be paid into the company and form part of its taxable profits and mirror the existing framework offered by the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

  • Extending the self-employed income support scheme to the more recently self-employed

A large number of the self-employed have already exited self-employment since the start of the Covid crisis, and these numbers are rising. Research shows that over 300,000 entrants to self-employment between 5 April 2019 and the launch of the scheme in March 2020 were ineligible for support via the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

Many of the members of these groups have now been self-employed for more than two years but are ineligible for SEISS.

With the self-assessment payment deadline for the fourth round of SEISS grants approaching on 31 January, we call on UK Government verify the self-employment status for these excluded traders and, so, to make them eligible for this fourth SEISS grant.

  • Start-up grant

Last year, Welsh Government advertised a start-up grant for those businesses that had been established recently and had fallen through the gaps in other government support. The grant was a one-off payment of £2500 and was advertised on the 29th June at the same time as the second phase of the Economic Resilience Fund.

FSB Wales calls for Welsh Government to revisit this grant and offer another round of funding dedicated to start-ups and the more recently self-employed who have been unable to benefit from the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

Ben Francis, FSB Wales Policy Chair, said:

“The economic crisis has been going on for much longer, and has cut much deeper, than we all hoped earlier on in the pandemic.

“Whilst there has been welcome intervention from UK and Welsh Government in order to support Welsh businesses, there are too many for whom support has been out of reach.

“Failing to support these business owners risks these companies not being able to weather the storm and losing jobs and economic investment in our communities. In order for Wales to be able to economically rebuild from the crisis, we need the small businesses that are at the centre of our communities to be able to lead the way.

“Start-up companies who have received little support should be able to benefit from another round of funding from Welsh Government in order to help them deal with a winter of increasing restrictions which have made it incredibly difficult to run a business profitably.

“Widening the provision of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme is a common-sense answer to a persistent question about how more individuals can be brought under the umbrella of the scheme and given a better chance of making it through the pandemic with their business intact.

“The Directors Income Support Scheme is a proposal from FSB and our partners that will support the thousands of business owners who have been left out of support for too long, and are key to economic resilience of Welsh companies in a post-pandemic landscape.

“We hope that Welsh and UK Government will flex every muscle that they have in order to continue to support Welsh firms through this pandemic. We need small firms to be a part of the recovery, and right now they need us.”