By day three of the pandemic most of my client list had vanished. Throughout the rest of the week, emails dripped in with a version of the same message, ‘Due to the coronavirus we have put a hold on all projects/cancelled all events/ceased trading.’ And just like that, my freelance business ground to a halt.
By day three of the pandemic most of my client list had vanished. Throughout the rest of the week, emails dripped in with a version of the same message,
‘Due to the coronavirus we have put a hold on all projects/cancelled all events/ceased trading.’
And just like that, my freelance business ground to a halt.
The dust has settled since the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) just over a week ago. While we make sense of it and accountants explore loopholes for those on the periphery, our members have been telling us about their reality and how the scheme is affecting their lives.
The bottom line - too many people have been left behind.
Last week Freelancer Club teamed up with 12 other organisations who represent the 5 million self-employed in the UK to flex our collective influence and pressure the Government to do more to support those who are ineligible or left short.
SEISS - the real impact
Far from the Chancellors claim that "95% of people who are majority self-employed will benefit from this scheme", we estimate around 2 million self-employed individuals (approximately 40%) will be unable to access sufficient support and, based on a survey of more than 2,000 freelancers, payments to those who are eligible won't get there fast enough.
The survey also concluded that 7 in 10 self-employed people will still struggle despite the Government’s support with only one third of the people said to have enough savings to make it to June.
Reasons why freelancers are excluded:
- Around 33% are new freelancers so haven’t completed a tax return.
- A further 3 in 10 people operate as a limited company.
- Around one fifth have suffered from the timing of their transition into self-employed work in tax year 2018/2019.
"Until a week ago I had work schedule in for the rest of the year. In the last week I have had 2 jobs cancelled and 3 other jobs all on hold or postponed until further notice." - Liz, freelance Multi-Camera Operator
June may be too late
Freelancers who said they will benefit from the current scheme are still not safe. The lump sum payouts are set to hit bank accounts in June, however, for many that may be too late.
- More than a quarter of those surveyed report they aren’t satisfied with the level of support provided by the government.
- Nearly 90% are concerned about waiting until June for the payout.
I have had all my jobs cancelled, all my shows from March till June, which means no work. I'm a DJ and producer. It has impacted massively, I try to keep focus and positive but it's never gonna be the same after this. - Manu Gonzlalez, freelance Producer
What we are doing
The consortium has written an open letter to the Government asking for more support during the current crisis.
- Allow 2019/20 tax year data to calculate the SEISS
- Make payments before June to provide vital support to those who need it now
Within a matter of days I went from having a full diary of work to absolutely nothing. My income has dropped from an average of £7000 a month to absolutely nothing. - David Moorcroft, freelance technician