01 Dec 2020
A plea has been made for the UK Government to urgently provide financial support for "forgotten" company directors.
There are fears that millions of jobs could be threatened if no help is forthcoming soon.
A coalition of small business leaders, tax experts and company directors has mapped out measures needed to address an issue which has left thousands of bosses with no income support during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) national chairman Mike Cherry said: "For months now, company directors - who have dutifully paid corporation and dividend taxation for years - have been told by the Treasury and HMRC that helping them falls into their 'too difficult' box.
"Our fresh proposal demonstrates that, in fact, putting together a support scheme for directors in line with what's available to the self-employed is pretty straightforward - so much of the information needed is there in existing tax returns.
"These individuals are not statistics on a spreadsheet, they are real people with bills to pay and families to feed. It's high time this Government - which claims to be pro-enterprise - helps them."
Many self-employed people have been able to claim grants covering most of their incomes if they've been impacted by Covid-19 restrictions.
But the FSB states that the Treasury and HMRC have allegedly claimed that a comparable scheme for company directors would be impossible to establish because many pay themselves in dividends and there is "no way" to establish whether such income is derived from business activity or other investments.
The coalition has now written to the Treasury, saying that a directors income support scheme could be established by drawing on details regarding trading profits and remuneration submitted by business owners to Companies House.
The cost of such an initiative could be between £2billion and £6billion – just a fraction of the cost of the furlough scheme. The coalition includes the ForgottenLtd campaign, which is raising awareness of the lack of meaningful Government support for the small business community across the UK.
Georgina Broadhurst, co-founder of ForgottenLtd, said: "The campaign represents hundreds of thousands of hard-working, tenacious small business owners across the UK, who are currently looking down the barrel of a gun.
"After eight months without meaningful support, many businesses are on the brink of collapse or insolvency. Directors have found themselves having to take on debt or spend their life savings to stay afloat. The furlough scheme has supported their 7.5million employees, but without financial support for the directors and the companies themselves, there will be no jobs for staff to return to by spring.”
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