IN response to the coronanvirus crisis, the Government has announced a raft of measures to support businesses and individuals through these unprecedented times. In the main, these have been welcomed by Federation of Small Businesses and we have been keen to see how they work in practice.

That includes the Self Employed Income Support Scheme, which was announced by the Chancellor last month, is due to go live in early June. It will cover around 3.8 million self-employed.

However it is clear that there are gaps which mean that certain groups will not be covered. They include: directors of limited companies – many of whom are one-person businesses or small employers – who pay themselves through dividends; those who have more recently become self-employed and do not have a 2018/19 tax return; self-employed above the trading profits cap of £50,000 a year; and those whose income from self-employment is below 50 per cent of their total earnings.

These are real, hard-working people who have built up successful businesses and paid taxes all their lives.

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However, they now find themselves facing hardship with little of the current support available for them. They include hair salon owners, childcare providers, dentists, pet-sitters, people across the creative industries and many more besides. They have done nothing to warrant being cut out of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

What’s more, the UK economy, society and local communities are going to need as many of them as possible to be in a position to reactivate their businesses when this public health emergency is over.

Clearly, the authorities are finding it challenging to meet the needs of the diverse range of businesses that make up the UK’s small business community. That’s why it is important for us to gather information about real-life entrepreneurs and their real-life situations.

We have currently shared more than 500 case studies to demonstrate to the authorities that urgent assistance is needed by those who are currently ineligible for the schemes announced to date. Failure to provide assistance now, will hamper longer term prospects for economic recovery, once the immediate crisis is over.