Having first drafted the Directors Income Support Scheme (DISS) back in November 2020, I then started working with the APPG Gaps in Support, who asked for my help to draft some more policies to cover the other areas where support had been lacking. This was the Targeted Income Grant Scheme (TIGS).
The TIGS policy was a headline policy which has a further five policies within it. The policy heads were:
• Newly self-employed
• PAYE Freelancer
• Ltd Company Director
• Those in the 50/50 group
• Those earning over £50,000 per year
The main premise for all the policies was that they had to minimise fraud and not be too labour intensive for HMRC to administer. Having been through the experience previously with the DISS policy and based on various bits of intel, I decided on a one-off grant. This significantly reduces the incidence of fraud and is far easier and quicker to administer. So, each policy had two options, so the Government could choose for themselves.
The newly self-employed had not submitted a tax return last year but, will now be submitting a tax return on 31 January this year, for their first year of trading. This means that HMRC will have sufficient data on this group to be able to include them either within the SEISS fourth grant or to provide a one-off grant.
Most of the PAYE Freelancers are also caught by the 50/50 rule, so I decided that they would be entitled to either the SEISS 4th grant or a one-off grant. This would, however, be based on a new rule that if their combined income of trading profits and non-trading earnings was less than £50,000, they would be entitled to claim. According to a recent report by the IFS this could help about 1.4m people. It was also evident that nearly half of this population was women working two jobs on a low income.
I have also just drafted a new policy for those that earn over £50,000 in trading profits. This was backed by Esther McVey MP and Philip Davies MP and was further signed by 60 cross-party MPs from the APPG.
The TIGS policy has been sent to the Financial Secretary to the Treasury – Jesse Norman and the Chancellor – Rishi Sunak. We hopefully have a meeting with them soon and will be able to discuss the details.
Along with the DISS policy, TIGS has been very well received by the press and other media, the campaign groups, trade bodies and MPs of all parties. The Treasury have yet to fully engage with these policies. It is unclear why although, confidentially I was told by the Federation of Small Businesses representative that the Treasury would be unaccustomed to dealing with a policy from outside of government.
Unfortunately, in my experience, despite my extensive knowledge on these subjects I have to team up with other large corporates to be taken seriously. I am very proud of the fact that I drafted and presented this policy to government as a member of the public, which I have been told is a first. I have also now been working on these policies since November unpaid and it is taking up a considerable amount of time but, there are a lot of people trying to get the Treasury to listen.
I am also very keen to be part of a conversation with government to help mould small business policy moving forward out of Covid-19. I am a small business myself, I set up my business straight after university so have never really been employed, and my frustration is that government does not understand small businesses. I am also, however, very passionate about helping the government to get it right and to understand the ‘language’ of small business. For that to happen, they need to listen to me or other people like me. I think the emphasis on only listening to the recognised corporates, academics and ‘heads of’ is limiting the scope for some fascinating and ground-breaking policy ideas.
In any case, thank you for the opportunity and thank you especially to Lady Heywood for having the idea for this brilliant competition.