Responding to the Chancellor’s announcement of support for the self-employed, Jonathan Geldart, Director General of the Institute of Directors, said:
“The Government has taken a much-needed step forward on support for the self-employed, many of whom have seen business evaporate due to the outbreak, and have as much need for support as employees. The Treasury has worked at pace to overcome the challenges in making this announcement, and is seeking to listen to the voice of our members about the impact the coronavirus outbreak is having on the economy.
“Support cannot reach these people fast enough. The system must strip back bureaucracy where it can, and proving eligibility must be straightforward. We welcome the principle that in these extreme circumstances incomes should be protected up to a certain level for both employees and self-employed, but it’s not clear how it will help directors of the smallest companies who rely on dividends, only getting paid if their company makes a profit. Setting up a business is fraught with risk, many fail, but at the moment they are falling between two stools.
“If businesses and the self-employed are going to have to sit tight until Government support comes through, banks must step up. So far we’ve heard too many worrying reports of firms being turned away for crucial bridging finance. Government must work with financial institutions to ensure the message of forbearance gets through.”