Almost three quarters of people are confused by the government’s financial support for small businesses, new research has revealed.
Some 73% of people admitted to finding Rishi Sunak’s latest support package “confusing,” with 85% saying that the new measures were still not enough, tax consultancy Tommys Tax revealed.
Last week the chancellor unveiled a new package of business support worth billions of pounds to help firms across the UK through the winter months.
He announced that the coronavirus Job Support Scheme will be made more generous, with reduction to employer contributions and minimum hours requirements. The £13bn ($16.9bn) lifeline also provided help for the self-employed and grants for companies affected by local lockdowns.
However, Tommys Tax found that many of the 11,500 small business owners in its Facebook self-employed business support group, called the new grant a “disgrace” as the support covered only 40% of their average monthly trading profits across three months - with a limit of £3,750 in total. Many added that they were still ineligible for support at all.
With tax possibly rising by up to two or three percentage points in the near future, 55% of people in a survey thought they would struggle to pay the extra costs, and 4% said they would stop working completely as they could receive more money on benefits. Figures were based on a survey of 1000 people in October, with a further 210 polled on the improved support package.
Tommy McNally, tax expert and founder of Tommys Tax, said: “The new measures are welcomed as an improvement, but 40% still leaves the self-employed struggling to survive and too many (around a third) will be excluded due to the eligibility criteria.”
McNally, who established the firm in 2015, added: “Small businesses and freelancers have seen their income drop dramatically during the pandemic. It’s a tough situation for everyone, but my clients believe they’re being treated unfairly compared to others. When you look at how little they’re still being offered, I have to agree with them.”
Tommys Tax launched a free app during the pandemic in April. It has helped over 10,000 people and on average secures refunds of £3,000 for those on PAYE and £2,800 for the self-employed.
The company provides tools for business owners, including bookkeeping, invoicing, tax calculators and the ability to get a tax refund within as little as 72 hours.
Watch: What is the Job Support Scheme and how has it changed?