Merseyside business owners have given a hesitant welcome to the extension of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) in the 2021 Budget.

Rishi Sunak announced that anyone who completed a 19/20 tax return can access the Covid-19 self employment grant.

Over 600,000 business owners have been excluded from the self-employment grant since March 2020.

This was down to the requirement of a three year tax return to calculate grant entitlement.

Therefore, many businesses set up after April 6 2019 have been without any financial support.

Paul Davies, 26, from Maghull was working full-time as a self-employed musician three months before the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

As he was newly self-employed, he could not access the grant and he has relied on family, small independent grants and universal credit since.

Paul said: “It’s pennies, my business has lost out on over £10,000 easy revenue and maybe even more.

“I’ve had about £700 over the first lockdown and that’s it.”

The 2021 Budget means that Paul will now qualify, however he believes it is not enough overall.

He added: “I have lost income by this point so i’m going to get a very small bit of very little based off my income.

“My profits are barely over £1000, i’m not going to get much from that to survive.”

New businesses at a loss due to high overheads and start-up costs were also excluded.

Ian Russell, 58, from Seaforth became a self-employed driving instructor in February 2019.

His set up costs meant that his business was at a loss in its first couple of months.

As this period was used to calculate his eligibility he was left with no financial support.

Ian said: “I can’t get the business grant because I don’t work out of a premises.

“As I have a pension, I can’t claim universal credit either.”

Covid-19 restrictions set by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) meant Ian could only work for approximately five months in 2020.

He added: “The insurance on the car and the franchise fee has still got to be paid. This is just to keep the business going.

“It’ll be a little too late for me, but if they give some support it will be better than nothing.”

Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram has worked with grassroots non-profit organisation, ExcludedUK, ahead of the 2021 Budget.

ExcludedUK supports the three million taxpayers who have been without government financial support since March 2020.

Limited company directors, PAYE freelancers, and zero-hour contract workers remain excluded following the 2021 Budget.

In a statement, Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said: “My heart goes out to the three million people excluded from government support since last March, who were hoping for something today to address their plight. They deserved better.”

To find out more on ExcludedUK visit their website. 

“Budget” picture courtesy of Got Credit is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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