Women in Film and TV (UK) launches a new campaign on National Freelancers Day to highlight the huge number of freelancers and self-employed workers who have been left unable to claim for either of the government financial schemes (SEISS and CJRS), leaving them in real financial hardship. Each day the organisation will post across Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn, the story of a freelancer who has fallen through the gaps of the current schemes.
Liz Tucker, Chair of WFTV said:
“We already know from our recent survey that around two thirds of freelancers have been unable to claim under the government schemes, but when you read the individual heart breaking stories of these individuals, the true personal impact of those left with no financial support real hits you. It is simply wrong and deeply unfair that these freelancers have been left with nothing”.
The daily social media posts from WFTV will reveal the stories of freelancers in genuine financial and mental distress, facing the risk of losing their homes and their livelihoods.
Here are a few of the extracts from some of the really concerning freelancer stories we will be covering:
Liz Tucker: “The ultimate irony is that these freelancers who have paid taxes for decades are seeing these same taxes used to fund the government support schemes, yet they are excluded from claiming themselves”.
These are WFTV’s recommendations for the changes need to the SEISS and CJRS:
Remove the cap for freelancers’s profits of more than £50,000/yr. Currently, someone earning £5,500/yr is unable to claim anything, whereas someone earning £50,000/yr can claim the maximum amount.
Allow freelancers working through limited companies to use their combined salary and dividends in any financial grant calculation. And allow those who pay themselves their PAYE salary annually as well as monthly to claim.
Allow PAYE contractors who are not eligible for furloughing to use their last year’s tax receipts in any financial grant calculation.
Allow freelancers with less than one year’s accounts to use their 19/20 income to calculate any financial grant calculation. WFTV suggests that the government allows freelancers to file their 5 April 2020 tax return by 31 May 2020, and for their 19/20 income to be the one used to calculate the grant payable.
Remove the requirement that the freelancer’s self-employed income needs to be more than 50% of their earnings. If someone has only been freelance for several months, it is very likely that they will have made most of that year’s income from non- freelance earnings.
Where a period of maternity leave has been taken this should be excluded from the three year averaging of accounts for the calculation of grant payable. Currently, anyone who has taken maternity leave will be at a disadvantage. So, we suggest if one of the 3 years used to calculate the financial grant payable has a lower profit due to maternity leave, then that year should be disregarded, and the assessment made only on the two more profitable years.