Covid-19: New mothers and over-60s among those most likely to miss out on self-employed support

(3 minutes to read)

A number of self-employed groups have been highlighted to be most likely to miss out on government support during the pandemic.

Those who went into contracting too recently are at high risk of not being provided with government support during the Coronavirus crisis.

This includes a number of groups of self-employed people, such as the over-60s, 50-59-year-olds and new mothers – this is according to latest research carried out by the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed (IPSE).

The IPSE findings show that there were 83,000 more self-employed people aged 60+ last year, out of a total 156,000 rise in the number of self-employed people. This was an increase of 11% on the previous year.

There were also 38,000 more 50-59-year-olds (an increase of 3%) and 22,000 more 16-29-year-olds (an increase of 4%). There were also 25,000 more self-employed mothers (a 4% increase on the previous year).

However, the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme is only open to those who filed a tax return for the year 2018/19.

Chloé Jepps, Head of Research at IPSE, said, “This research, looking at the year-on-year increase in the number of self-employed, suggests the groups that were growing most quickly last year and are therefore most likely to miss out on support now.

“The groups most at risk of being left out in the cold seem to be not only older freelancers, but also mothers – who are if anything more likely to be in need of support.”

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Jepps added, “In 2019, more and more people were going into self-employment for the freedom and flexibility this way of working provides – the freedom to fit your work around your life rather than the other way round. Now, however, these people’s incomes are drying up and, because of a flaw in the government’s support scheme, most are not getting the help they need to keep their businesses afloat.

“The government must get the newly self-employed – as well as limited company contractors and others who are missing out – the help and support they need. We urge the government to extend the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme to people who became self-employed in 2019/20 – and use this year’s tax returns to get them the financial assistance they need.

“The self-employed are the dynamo of the UK economy – they contributed £305bn last year alone – and we will be looking to them to get the economy back on its feet in the coming months. But to do that, all parts of the varied and diverse self-employed community urgently need support now.”

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