To: All self employed people in the UK
Self Employed Income Support Scheme is arbitrarily unfair
Please support my petition that calls out discrimination against self employed workers in the UK, who happened to start working in the "gig economy" part of the way through the 2018-19 tax year, and have worked at the same job ever since, yet cannot claim for the SEIIS (Self Employed Income Support Scheme) because their income was less than 50% of their total income in that year.
This affects a LOT of semi-retired workers, like myself (I was told by the HMRC operative I spoke to, who told me "no", that they were calling over 150,000 people who are in the same position as me to decline their claim).
I am 58, and took a small company pension early yet need to supplement my income to support myself and a business my wife and I have started. We don't yet draw an income from our business. I took a part-time job as a taxi driver that started at the end of September 2018, and the total income from this work (evenings/weekends, around our business, so I was working in total 60-70 hours a week) came to just over £5K.
My pension for that year was just over £8K. I have worked every week since as a part-time taxi driver, including Christmas and New Year, doing school runs and evening and weekends, up until the lockdown. Not glamorous, but it kept the bank account topped up, while we worked on starting up our business.
The lockdown arrived, my taxi work stopped, and the govt eventually announced, grudgingly, support for self employed workers, but the rules were much more severe than for PAYE. It was based on "profits" (yeah, right), on that tax year. You had to have "profits" of more than 50% of your total income. I failed on this, and appealed. I was told, no, it was based on full year earnings. I told them I have worked ever since, until lockdown, and if you pro-rata'ed my income for the six months over the year, I would easily meet the 50% test. I was told NO. these are the rules. No appeal.
Why is this important?
It is fundamentally unfair to penalise a self-employed person, when they would otherwise qualify under the rules, as they were only "self-employed" for part of that year, even though they have been self-employed ever since, and they have lost 100% of their income due to COVID-19.
In most cases, these are small amounts of money, less than most PAYE employees will be paid until October. Yet we have been briefly offered some support, which has now been snatched away, without any appeal.