To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of small business owners who have foregone their personal salaries to provide additional investment for their businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
31 March 2021
The Government recognises the challenges faced by small business owners due to COVID-19. That is why the Government has committed to a very substantial package of support to help businesses, their owners and employees through this difficult time. Small business owners may benefit from extensions to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and to the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) to September 2021 announced at the recent Budget. The CJRS has supported 11.2 million unique jobs (by 15 February 2021) supporting 1.3 million employers with £53.8 billion. The next SEISS grants will potentially support an additional 600,000 claimants, bringing the Government’s support for the self-employed to £33 billion. Alongside this, small businesses have benefited from Small Business Rates Relief and may continue to benefit from the extended business rates relief for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. These firms may be eligible for the newly introduced Restart Grants, due to start in April, alongside having the opportunity to apply for a share of an additional £425 million top up to Local Authority Additional Restriction Grants. They may also be eligible to apply for the new Recovery Loan Scheme and may also benefit from the reduction of VAT for eligible businesses, and deferrals to VAT repayments.
Despite this level of support, the Government acknowledges that it has not been possible to support everyone as they might wish, such as company directors. Where groups have not been included it has been because of two guiding principles; to target support to those who need it most, and to protect public money against error, fraud and abuse. Despite extensive analysis and engagement, no practical way has been found to identify and target directors unable to draw on the SEISS or CJRS, and to assess the value of support they should receive.