Bizarre new second SELF-EMPLOYMENT grant rule – it’s now only for businesses affected by Covid-19 on or after 14 Jul. On Fri, we got the guidance for the coronavirus self-employment income support grant 2 due in Aug. Most was as flagged, but then we spotted: “You will have to confirm your business has been adversely affected on or after 14 July 2020.” So we’ve been digging into it.

To recap, as the Govt says, this second grant is for ‘70% of your avg monthly trading profits, paid in a single instalment covering a further 3mths’ worth of profits, capped at £6,570 in total.’ Disappointingly for many excluded from the first grant, this has the same eligibility criteria, so if you were ineligible for that, you are ineligible for this.

As the Govt’s own press release from 26 Mar stated: “The income support scheme… will cover the three months to May,” ie, Mar, Apr and May. Logic (and basic counting) therefore suggests the second 3mth grant covers Jun, Jul and Aug.
So it’s very strange to read the new rule that says you have to declare your business was impacted after mid-Jul, and unfair on businesses heavily impacted in Jun and recovered by then.

Having spoken to HMRC, apparently the grants don’t [now?] relate to a specific 3mth time period, they are just grants [though based on 3mths of trading profits].

The rules are simple. The first grant is for those whose ‘business was impacted by Covid-19 before 13 Jul’ and the second, which comes in Aug, for those ‘impacted by Covid-19 on or after 14 Jul’. If impacted before and after those dates, you are due both.
So the new rules are clear. But the implication and message this sends is as clear as mud. If, as the Govt announced, the first ‘3mth’ grant covered Mar, Apr and May, but also now sort-of Jun and half of Jul, what does the second ‘3mth’ grant cover?

Though as there’s no closing date for applications (yet), some who’ve been fine until, say, Sept may be able to claim then.
What counts as being impacted by Covid-19? It’s obvious things such as a) you or your staff have been unable to work due to it, b) you can’t access your usual place of work, and c) your revenue has been negatively impacted. And it’s simple – either there’s been an impact, even a small one, in which case you’re due the whole grant, or there hasn’t.

If you haven’t applied for the first grant as you were worried, but now realise you are eligible, use the HMRC eligibility checker. Remember, you CAN claim this if you’re working.

And on the subject of those excluded from financial help:

Are you one of the up to 3m EXCLUDED from support?

When the Chancellor first launched the coronavirus financial support schemes, they were rightly lauded for protecting millions of people’s jobs and incomes. At the time, I said in one interview: “I’d give it an A grade, but what’d really count is how they will help those who’d fallen through the cracks.”

Now those cracks are fissures. Many are without help, including those who’ve changed jobs, started a business in the last 18mths, are on freelance PAYE, are limited company directors, work for agencies, are shielding, or just had employers who didn’t care. So that grade has degraded.

No. 10 has repeatedly turned down our request for a journalistic question slot at the press briefings, which I’d have used to ask about this. So thanks to Andrew Marr who, unprompted, raised it on his show on Sunday, in my name, with the Chancellor. The clip’s here

Rishi Sunak’s answer sadly manages down any expectation of change. So if you’re one of the up to 3m people in this situation, while you can hope for the best, I’d suggest you also plan for the worst (use the support list below).
As Rishi Sunak ‘quibbled’ with my number of 3m, I’ve therefore politely asked the Chancellor to research the exact number.

PS: And a plug for the new Excluded UK support group, set up by 3 people impacted, to try to give a coordinated voice to those missing out and a way of raising awareness.

Article in The Sun today.

And one in my local Plymouth rag.

ExcludedUK is the name of the group I mentioned on this week’s webinar and mentioned in Martin’s article above.  This is for all those people who have fallen through the cracks of Government financial assistance.  We know that a lot of ADIs are in this category, so would strongly suggest you join this group which is lobbying for help.  They describe themselves as an inclusive alliance for the excluded and say that they are ‘creating a collective platform for those excluded from UK Government Corovavirus support schemes in order to protect livelihoods and help rebuild the economy.’  This is their website address.  They also have a Facebook group