Despite the UK government announcing financial assistance for bigger companies, bail-outs for rail franchises and airlines, many self-employed workers have been left in a state of uncertainty. Abandoned and forgotten some might say. Bambridge Accountants have been looking at the options for creative professionals, musicians, actors & performers, most of whom have seen all their future bookings vanish from about March 10th onwards.
Many creative industry associations, such as Equity and The Creative Industry Federation, have released open letters and petitions to the government demanding more support for creative industry workers.
We have compiled a brief account on some of the support currently available. This is an area with high pressure on the Government for more information. We will be monitoring all self-employment support developments and keeping our blog up to date.
As many will already know the financial support that is available right now is Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) alongside Universal Credit. The charity “Turn2us” has created a calculator so that you can find out the benefits you might be entitled too.
This is not the only support being offered. The government has recently declared that income tax payments due in July 2020 “will be deferred to January 2021”, stating that the process will be ‘automatic’ with ‘no applications required’. One of the major Covid-19 financial aid reliefs that self-employed workers can benefit from is the Mortgage Holiday and Eviction protection legislation
Small and medium businesses (businesses with ‘less than 250 employees’) can also access Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) relief. “This refund will cover up to 2 weeks SSP per eligible employee” off work due to COVID-19.
Many unions and societies are coming together to help self-employed people at this time. The ‘Musicians Union’ (MU) has invested £1 million to its new “Coronavirus Hardship Fund” for MU members. Offering in the way of financial support to members of the Music Union who apply.
The ‘Arts Council’ also recently announced that their priority has shifted to helping support ‘people who work in arts, museums and libraries” through the means of refocusing grant programs to ‘compensate individual artists and freelancers for lost work.
Amongst this, the small steps should not be ignored. Things such as making sure you are up to date on your invoices and managing any savings to prepare for any financial losses you may experience in the coming months.
Alistair Bambridge, partner at Bambridge Accountants, explains: “We are working around the clock to ensure that we are keeping our self-employed clients up to date with the latest news on what is to come over the upcoming days, weeks and even months.
“The creative industries alone are worth £117bn to the economy and it is crucial we stand behind them now when they need it most.
“For anyone who is self-employed the future is bleak and they need support now. We urge the government to review the relief available to self-employed individuals and help ensure that swathes of creatives in the UK are not forced to leave the industry.
“Many creatives will simply not be able to survive on the £94 a week the government is offering. All they are asking for is parity with employees and the support the government has announced for them”