No support for overlooked company directors in the mini-Budget

Linda J. Dodson

Small businesses that slipped through the net of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s measures to support the British economy continue to be overlooked, according to trade body the Institute of Directors.

In Mr Sunak’s fresh stimulus package aimed at rebooting the economy, there was no help announced for company directors, who have not been able to receive income support during the pandemic.

Jonathan Geldart, of the Institute of Directors, said that while the cut to VAT for businesses in the hospitality sector and the job creation schemes were welcome, he had hoped for “broader-based measures” to help companies ride out the crisis, particularly for those that have fallen through the gaps of support schemes.

He added: “A glaring omission throughout this pandemic has been the exclusion of small company directors, many of whom have not been able to access income support. Widening grant schemes could help those who have been left struggling without assistance, and help more firms to re-open.”

Gina Broadhurst, of the #ForgottenLtd Campaign for small company directors, warned that many of the firms that would have been in position to offer employment through Mr Sunak’s measures may struggle to stay afloat. Many local businesses such as hairdressers, electricians, plumbers and gardeners have already been forced to close.

“The Government’s strategy is premised on businesses remaining solvent, but hundreds of thousands of small business owners employing millions of people have received zero support and are on the verge of collapse. At this rate more businesses will fall, never to be seen again,” she said.

The Chancellor also made no mention of packages for the self-employed, with a lack of further details on the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, which has its final grant in August.

Andy Chamberlain, of the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed, said freelancers could face a cliff edge when it runs out.

“Although there were many positive measures to boost the economy in the Chancellor’s statement today, the self-employed were noticeable by their absence,” he said. He urged the Chancellor to introduce a tapered end to SEISS as well as the furlough scheme.

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