Professor Julia Rouse, Centre for Decent Work and Productivity response to the chancellors comprehensive spending review.
In the Spending Review, the Chancellor of Exchequer was expected to address gaps in the Covid19 Self-Employment Income Support Scheme and Job Retention Scheme. He failed to do so or even to acknowledge the increasingly despairing members of the @ExcludedUK, @ForgottenPAYE and @ForgottenLtd communities.
The Chancellor reiterated his position that he cannot save every job. But surely it is incumbent on him to to justify why he has chosen to support particular jobs or businesses, and not others. The Chancellor said that “Good work remains the most rewarding and sustainable path to prosperity” and that the real route out of this economic crisis is “encouraging individual and community brilliance”. Why, then, has he abandoned people who have sought work by starting new businesses or slowing growing freelance work to be their main job? Why are small Business Directors - including those who work in hard hit sectors like hairdressing, the creative arts and catering - unable to get any support with personal income unless they cease trading at a time when they need to work extra hard to innovate and sustain their businesses?
Last week, 14 of the leading Professors of Entrepreneurship wrote to HM Treasury outlining detailed proposals for how to address gaps in support for the self-employed and Business Directors (link below). We called for policy actions that can be automated in HMRC systems, require proportionate effort and mitigate the risk of fraud. The Federation of Small Businesses and IPSE have also made proposals. There are now three workable proposals on the table. The Chancellor cannot legitimately hide behind the idea that he cannot save these jobs and businesses.
We cannot understand his choices: why is he destroying so much entrepreneurial spirit at a time when the economy needs it most? And why does he not share our acute concern for the mental health and economic wellbeing of the excluded?
Letter to the Treasury here: