The Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed (IPSE) has responded to the rising infection rate of the Omicron variant by warning that unless the government offers support to self-employed people by delaying planned increases to National Insurance and bringing back the 5% VAT rate for the hospitality sector, then thousands will face financial hardship.
As individuals scale back their plans and limit their economic activity in line with the government’s advice, it is highly likely that work opportunities for the self-employed will scale back with it. Therefore, IPSE is calling on the government to:
- Delay the implementation of the planned increase to National Insurance and Dividend Taxation
- Bring back the 5% VAT rate for the hospitality sector
- Suspend the Minimum Income Floor for Universal Credit
- Introduce a suite of discretionary, optional concessions for Bounce Back Loan repayments
- Consider the design of financial support schemes to identify ways to include previously excluded groups, in the unwelcome event that they become necessary
- Extend Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to Sole Traders
Andy Chamberlain, Director of Policy at the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE), said, “IPSE has always said the Covid pandemic isn’t just a health crisis – it is also an economic one. Rising infection rates are set to have a devastating financial impact on freelancers and self-employed workers, who have already lost savings and work after previous COVID-19 impacts.
“The government can reassure our smallest businesses by implementing a series of measures that will help many survive this challenging period. That is why we have written to the Chancellor asking him to roll out a suite of measures that bring some degree of confidence to the sector.
“Delaying planned tax hikes, making Universal Credit more accessible, introducing further flexibility to Bounce Back Loan repayments, ensuring everyone – not just the employed – can access Statutory Sick Pay and reintroducing the 5% VAT rate for hospitality could enable thousands to businesses to survive these extremely challenging circumstances.”