‘Where’s the help for entrepreneurs, Rishi?’ – Sunak’s Budget snub to self-employed
Budget 2021: Victoria Scholar discusses announcement
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The Budget was good for Prosecco drinkers and motorists are celebrating another petrol duty freeze. Interactive Investor’s head of investment Victoria Scholar said Sunak announced a slew of spending commitments yesterday, but the self-employed will not be raising a glass to the Chancellor.
Alex Aldhous, 33, took advantage of furlough to start her own business and knows how challenging it is to get going and would like to have seen more help for start-ups in yesterday’s Budget.
Alex, from Oxfordshire, runs a business called ARC Virtual Solutions, which helps small businesses boost productivity and efficiency. Her clients include bridging loans and development finance brokers KIS Finance.
She said entrepreneurs and the self-employed are the backbone of the economy, but are now crying out for more support.
Eligibility criteria for the Help to Grow scheme for smaller businesses excludes a vast majority of start-ups formed during the pandemic. “There were no measures to help those of us who work from home, either,” Alex said.
SEISS was designed to help self-employed workers through the pandemic, but many fell through the cracks as applicants needed to have worked for themselves for at least two years to qualify.
Up to three million self-employed workers got no Covid-19 financial support whatsoever as a result, according to campaigning group Excluded UK.
Alex said: “It’s hard out there.”
Alex did welcome the increase to the national living wage, and measures to cut taxes for the working poor by reducing the Universal Credit taper rate.
On a personal note, she was also pleased to see Sunak’s £5.9 billion pledge to tackle the NHS backlog of non-emergency tests and procedures.
The money will also go to modernise digital technology and boost community diagnostic centres, to help people across England get health checks, scans and tests closer to their homes.
Alex said: “I suffer with endometriosis and have felt the effects of the strain the NHS has been put under at first-hand, so I’m hoping this will make a real difference,” she said.
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The end of the public sector pay freeze was also welcome, Alex said. “Most of my close family work within the public sector so I am pleased on their behalf.”
However, she would have liked the Chancellor support those hardest hit by rising inflation and the cost of living crisis. “It’s really beginning to bite out there.”
ARC Virtual Solutions helps small businesses achieve sustainable organic growth but they can’t do it all on their own.
“The Government could do more,” she added.
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