Thousands of small UK businesses still “falling through the gaps” in government support

Pressure is growing on Chancellor Rishi Sunak for support for small limited companies, as it’s emerged they will still not be eligible for the government’s financial support.

Hundreds of thousands of people in the UK are paid through dividends as small company directors. Despite the Chancellor announcing an overhaul of his plan for business support late last night, campaigners say measures to protect small companies are still missing.

A Change.org petition calling for small limited company directors to also be eligible for the government support of 80% of earnings has already been signed by over 250,000 people.

Amanda Evans, who started the petition, is an accountant. “Most of my clients are small businesses who have already had to close. My work will dry up to a bare minimum in a month or so until this crisis is over, and whilst things get going again.  The Government needs to support us through this time of anxiety – we need solutions now.

I’ve heard from thousands of people who are falling through the gaps in the government’s support as they don’t fit into the requirements for either self-employed or employed people. It’s a staggering oversight.

My ask is fair and simple: support these people, who have worked incredibly hard to build up their small businesses and paid their taxes, the same as everyone else.  They cannot be failed.”

Commenting on the petition, Elizabeth Robinson said “My husband and I have had our limited company for 7 years, working together in commercial and broadcast production. We have a 2 year old and a 4 year old, all our work has disappeared due to COVID-19 and our business is our only form of income.”

Another commenter Amanda Exley added “It is so unjust that there is no comparable package for us, why should we be the only ones forced to borrow loans and overdrafts to keep our businesses and families afloat? We will be in debt for years to come, even if we do survive the next few weeks. We feel as if we are being penalised for all our hard work over the years.”

“We’re seeing hundreds of people turning to Change.org every day to start petitions on issues which are affecting their community. In such a fast-moving environment it’s critical that the Chancellor is listening to people like Amanda, who are shining a light on blindspots  in the Government’s plans”, said Kajal Odedra, UK Executive Director of Change.org.

The Chancellor is being called on to do more for small businesses after new research was published suggesting almost one in five small and medium-sized companies could close within weeks if they can’t access emergency cash needed to support them.