Research

Coronavirus threatens to ‘decimate whole generation of early-stage entrepreneurs’

4 Jun 2020 By Siobhan Palmer

A study has shown that three-quarters of a million self-employed workers could miss out on government help during the pandemic

More than 750,000 self-employed workers could miss out on government financial support during the coronavirus crisis, research has shown. 

Data analysis by the Centre for Decent Work and Productivity at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) and the Enterprise Research Centre revealed that while 3.65 million people would qualify for the government’s income support scheme for self-employed workers, 756,200 would not. 

This figure included 18 per cent of sole traders. The study warned that sole traders who had recently established themselves were most vulnerable to a near-total loss of income. The study also noted that the majority of self-employed workers would not be eligible for the small business loans made available by the government if they did not have a business premises or if they employ other staff. 

MMU professor Julia Rouse said the group of workers who would miss out on support packages were those “most vulnerable to a loss of income – including those new to self-employment”.

“Unless the government responds positively, we’re in danger of seeing a whole generation of early-stage entrepreneurs decimated by this crisis,” she added. 

The study proposed allowing self-employed workers who had not yet filed a tax submission (and could therefore not qualify for government support) to file a submission for 2019-20 and still receive a payment. It also suggested expanding access to universal credit, and extending grant payments to home-based self-employed businesses.

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