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Media comment: More can be done to level the playing field for all workers

26 March 2020

Dear editor, 

We welcome the Government’s plan to support the self-employed during the coronavirus pandemic. The Chancellor’s plan to offer a taxable grant of 80% of the average profits for the last three years, up to £2,500, is an unprecedented measure that will provide 5 million people with some much-needed relief. So while we understand that the Government is navigating uncharted waters, we are concerned that delaying full support for the self-employed until beginning of June may be way too late for some.

The self-employed make up 30% of the UK workforce, making a valuable contribution to our economy – and we believe that more can be done to level the playing field for all workers. The Government should provide some much-needed relief by setting up a new quick-to-access “Coronavirus Loan Scheme”, akin to the Student Loan Scheme, to allow sole traders and the self-employed to solve their cashflow issues quickly and continue operating whilst other measures bed in. We should also extend business rates holiday to all SMEs to help as many struggling businesses as we can to preserve their cashflow and keep supply chains open, which would benefit our economy in the long-term. 

It will take some time for the UK economy to recover, but preparing now will help us better navigate the future.

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Harding, FCMA, CGMA
Chief Executive — Management Accounting
The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, part of the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants