Majority of self-employed workers have received no govt support in pandemic

The majority of self-employed people in the UK have received no government support to help them through the pandemic, according to research from The Mortgage Lender (TML).

A study found that nine in 10 self-employed people have worked throughout the pandemic, with 39% working full-time and only one in 10 (11%) stopping work completely.

TML’s research, carried out among 1,000 self-employed people who own their own home, or want to, was carried out in March this year. It found that the majority of self-employed workers (57%) have had no government support in the last 12 months.

Furthermore, only 9% had used the furlough scheme for employees, 28% received a grant, 6% took out a bounce back loan, 5% secured a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan, 4% deferred their VAT payment and just 3% agreed a payment plan with the Inland Revenue.

When compared with the financial support offered to employees, 58% of the study’s self-employed respondents felt their experience of the pandemic was worse, while 35% said it was similar and just 8% claimed their experience was better.

TML sales and product director, Steve Griffiths, commented: “Our research lays bare the struggles of the self-employed over the last year as they have navigated reduced demand for their products and services and taxes due to the Inland Revenue, many with no support at all.

“Unlike larger employers, micro-SMEs and entrepreneurs don’t have access to the financial skills that have helped larger companies take advantage of government schemes to balance the books. Instead, they have taken on that burden while still managing to pay their contribution to the public purse.”

Despite the financial struggles of the self-employed, however, TML also found that nine out of 10 workers are up to date or have the funds available to pay their tax liabilities to the Inland Revenue.

Griffiths added: “The full financial impact for the self-employed still has to work its way through the system with accounts and tax not due until nine months after the year-end, so it will be another year before we see the real fallout of the pandemic.”

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