The government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, announced in March, is intended to help self-employed workers who found themselves without income in lockdown.
However, the scheme leaves out many groups including the newly self-employed, freelancers who work for limited companies, and those who were over the income threshold before the pandemic. To check if you’re eligible for the scheme, click here.
According to IPSE, the fall in self-employed numbers can be blamed on these gaps in income support.
Cribb says: “In the second quarter of 2020, there was a disproportionate and disturbing slump in the number of self-employed in the UK – far more than among employees. This is almost certainly because of the serious gaps in the government support for the self-employed, including directors of limited companies and also the newly self-employed, who are at the most fragile stage of their careers.”
The data also showed a decrease of 197,000 in the number of self-employed workers between the second quarter of 2019 and the same period in 2020. This fall further highlights the impact of lacking government support on the self-employed population.
IPSE’s Freelancer Confidence Index hints at the financial difficulties faced by the self-employed in the aftermath of the pandemic: the average income of freelancers dropped by 25 per cent.