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Why are freelancers so low on the government’s agenda?

With self-employed tax returns due yesterday, freelancers will have paid their taxes for the 2019-20 financial year, following a tough year for many freelancers, as work opportunities and incomes took a hit due to the pandemic.

Throughout the pandemic, millions of freelancers were unable to claim grants under the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), this included the newly self-employed, who did not file a 2018-19 tax return, company directors, or those who earned more than £50,000 or had less than half their income from self-employment. With the tax return filed, millions of self-employed workers who have not previously been eligible for the government’s scheme are hopeful that they will be eligible for future SEISS payments.

The government has not yet announced the details of the fourth SEISS payment, but Justin Small, founder and CEO of Future Strategy Club comments on the importance of the freelance sector, and urges the government to pay out to the newly self-employed:

“Freelancers often get overlooked by the government. This year has been particularly tough for freelancers, with many not eligible for financial support. It’s crucial that the government rethinks support for self-employed individuals, and extends SEISS to all freelancers.

“Freelancers are a vital part of our economy, with more than five million self-employed people in the UK, representing 15.3% of workers. Freelance talent is particularly important at the moment, as short-term, outside talent can bring a fresh perspective to businesses who are struggling, and integrate a new, more flexible ethos to firms who are looking for the best way to accommodate new business models and legislations. In a time of economic turmoil and uncertainty, funds and resources may be low, utilising freelance talent also allows firms looking for specific talent to find it quickly and without breaking the bank.”