In its report, the influential Public Accounts Committee has asked the taxman to explain why 1.6m freelancers alone have been excluded from Covid help, let alone the 3m excluded overall.
Meg Hillier MP, chair of the PAC, said: “As public spending balloons to unprecedented levels in response to the pandemic, out-of-date tax systems are one of the barriers to getting help to a significant of struggling taxpayers who should be entitled to support.”
Meanwhile, former Brexit secretary David Davis has written to chancellor Rishi Sunak asking him to ensure that the newly self-employed are included in the final found of Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) grants.
This could see more than half a million freelancers qualifying for emergency Covid financial support after all. This is because they have now filed accounts for the 2019-20 tax year, proving their self-employed status.
>See also: Taxman gives self-employed more time to file your tax return
The self-employed support scheme has paid out almost £20bn to close to 3m people in three separate tranches. The government has extended the scheme until April and will pay out a fourth round of grants next month.
Former pensions minister and co-chair of the APPG on Gaps in Support, Esther McVey, said: “Too many of those who made the leap into self-employment have been denied desperately-needed help because of a quirk of timing.