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A POSTCODE LOTTERY


members of our trade, like other businesses, are entitled. Unfortunately, it does not in reality give any actual cash which can be used to pay ongoing business expenses. So, whilst we do appreciate your efforts, please understand that this issue is about so much more than just the plates and badges.


We therefore now demand answers: if money has been allocated on a pro rata basis, why then have some English councils been able to find money to support our trade properly? Why have other authorities offered paltry payments whilst others have done nothing at all?


WHY IS IT THAT SOME LOCAL AUTHORITIES HAVE NOT AND WILL NOT SUPPORT AND PROTECT OUR TRADE?


TOO MUCH CONFUSION Just for clarity here, let us look at an example:


You will see within the tables on the following pages the great disparity in grant support across the country. We question why is there so much variation; why is there so much confusion; and why have there been so many unreasonable conditions imposed in the grant application process?


The fact is that some councils have made it easy to claim; others have made it so complicated that even accountants are struggling to understand the process; some councils have said you can claim but actually the eligibility criteria is clearly prohibitive; and sadly, many have shown a complete lack of interest or concern for our trade and clearly do not offer any support.


We examine some of the inconsistencies and inequalities point by point below. We hope that this will encourage those councils who have chosen to exclude members of our trade to acknowledge their failing and look to reassess their grant schemes’ criteria accordingly - which we know are constantly being reviewed.


1. Those who have received SEISS are excluded: 3. You must have a business account:


The SEISS (Self-Employed Income Support Scheme) has been welcomed by drivers, but many have been excluded for various reasons: they’ve not been self-employed for long enough or they’ve invested in developing their business, such as upgrading vehicles to comply with local conditions or to prepare for the upcoming CAZ regions, so have not made enough profit.


But even so, this is by the very definition of the scheme “income”, NOT turnover. It is based on 80 per cent of NET profit, so in essence the equivalent of the furlough scheme in that it is 80 per cent of take-home wages – money used to pay household bills.


FEBRUARY 2021


There is no legal requirement for a self-employed person to have a business bank account and thus incur excess charges. If the council has been happy to take payment for licence fees etc. from a personal bank account in the past, then this seems a ridiculous stipulation to impose, one which has frustrated many drivers trying to register for the grants which they have been told they are entitled to claim.


Even if you now want to swap to a business bank account this is currently practically impossible as most banks have suspended new applications.


51


• Weekly income pre-Covid: £600 • Weekly outgoings such as radio rents, vehicle finance or vehicle rent, fuel, allowing for weekly equivalents such as vehicle insurance, tax, maintenance, badge, plate, MoT/compliance, vehicle maintenance, tax, na- tional insurance: £400


• Remaining amount: £200 • SEISS payment £160


So how exactly are you going to pay the £400 AND pay your household bills and put food on your table?


2. Many grants are dependent on commercial premises, non-domestic rates, and in some cases, signed ten- ancy agreements:


This stipulation automatically excludes sole traders, vehi- cle owners and drivers, since their business is their vehicle, which in many cases the monthly payments can be as high as the rent that would apply to business premises.


The SEISS is NOT a business support scheme; it removes any and all business expenses, so is not designed to cover any ongoing monthly business overheads, such as vehicle finance payments, insurance premiums, radio rents, vehi- cle tax, plates, badges, compliance checks/MoT, vehicle maintenance, CCTV installations (where mandatory), fire extinguishers, first aid kits, fuel - all of the ongoing costs that still need to be paid in order for the business to survive.


This means that the SEISS is NOT and WILL NOT protect the industry and should therefore NOT be used as an ex- cuse to exclude anyone from business grants; they are two completely different pots of funding, for two completely different purposes.


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