Yesterday, in between interviewing inspiring women for the Her Business & Co Podcast I sat glued to my computer watching the live stream of PMQs. Yes, I’ve become that person. I was ready for Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, to make his big budget announcement. I waited patiently for him to take centre stage, sipping my tea with eager anticipation; enjoying the peculiar back-and-forth as members of parliament fired questions at our Prime Minister - like a very upper-class Jeremy Kyle show set at Wimbledon.
Eventually Mr Sunak stood and began his speech and just as the media predicted, he was all about dropping the hefty cash sums left, right and centre. But what did it all mean and how will it affect you? Let’s take a look:
Good news for the self-employed
1.6 million self-employed people were previously ineligible for the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS). Leaving a huge amount of recently self-employed or those who had earned more in paid employment than their self-employment out in the cold. Finally there will be financial help for around 600,000 of those people now too:
4th SEISS payment
Up to 80% of trading profits, averaged over three months (up to a cap of £7,500)
Can be applied for in April
5th SEISS payment
This amount will fluctuate depending on the loss of income suffered:
For those who have seen turnover fall by 30% can still apply for a grant of up to 80% profit (a cap of £7,500)
For those who have seen turnover fall by less than 30% can apply for up to 30% of trading profits (capped at £2,850)
Can be applied for in July
It’s great news (although in a lot of cases far too late and the damage already done) for those who were left out of previous grants despite the frustrating fact that they will have to wait until the end of April to put in an application.
Furlough-ing along nicely
If you’re a small business relying on the furlough scheme to keep you ticking over then you were probably pleased to see that the scheme has been extended until the end of September. Hurrah!
Help for our high street
£5 billion has been earmarked for new Restart Grants that begin in April aimed at helping our wonderful high-street and non-essential businesses bounce back after closing up shop. This will take the form of a one off cash grant:
There are plenty of stipulations to these grants and you can find out whether your business qualifies for one and how to apply for one through your local City Council.
Recovery Loan Scheme
For businesses of any size there is a new scheme to offer loans and other types of finances of up to £10 million. These loans are backed by an 80% guarantee from the Government to the lender (a list of whom will be announced soon) so that lenders feel more confident in handing cash over and will be asked not to take personal guarantees or secure the lending on the borrowers home.
The scheme is set to be launched on the 6th April and will be open until 31st December 2021.
And here's what we can do too...
Even with light at the end of the tunnel, as business owners, creatives and freelancers we have another few months of grit and determination to get through. Hang on in there.
Whilst some people have seen a rise in their income during Covid, a vast majority of people will have had business collapse, loss of jobs and loss of homes. As imperative as it is for businesses to be safe again to open and for the government to support businesses and the self-employed, it’s equally important for us, as consumers, to shop wisely. We can do this by supporting our small businesses and high-street shops and favouring those over (perhaps “easier” and more “convenient) bigger corporations. I’m looking at you, Amazon.
Of course some people will have still slipped through the net. For others the announcement is too little - too late. I only need to walk down a local high-street to boarded-up shops fronts or scroll through Instagram with the saddest of updates popping up on my feed to see the impact the last 12 months has had on so many people. Aside from shopping from independent businesses it's also time for us to be kinder to each other too. In such an unprecedented time, when no one really knows what is the "right" way to do something; above all, choose the kindest way.
Emma Downey | Founder
Emma can be found glued to her laptop/kindle or embarking on her next favourite hobby. Avid cake-eater, Disney-superfan and passionate about female empowerment, Emma founded WWD in 2017. She's currently travelling around Europe in her converted camper van and eating far too many croissants.
You can contact Emma: email@example.com
Have you listened to our podcast? Her Business & Co is all about sharing the big stories from small businesses, just like yours. Listen here or on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcast joy.