NEWS27 April 2020

MRS calls for better SME and self-employed support

Covid-19 News UK

UK – The Market Research Society (MRS) has joined several other membership organisations to call for government support for small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) and self-employed members during the Covid-19 pandemic.


Small businesses and self-employed people are facing ‘many acute challenges’ in accessing the existing financial support schemes, 17 associations said in a letter addressed to the chancellor of the exchequer, Rishi Sunak.

The letter calls on the government to change the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) to allow directors of small businesses to have their dividends considered when applying for support.

Both schemes are based on either an average of the last three years’ self-assessment forms or a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 19th March 2020.

The SEISS is set to start making payments in June, however, the organisations argue that their members cannot wait that long to access financial support so have asked the government to either launch the scheme sooner or provide cash grants.

The letter also said that more needs to be done to ensure more small businesses benefit from Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans.

Signatories included the Data and Marketing Association, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and the British Dental Association.

A joint statement from the organisations said: "Collectively the groups have welcomed the existing support and acknowledge the breadth of businesses these schemes already support but there are some very worrying gaps. The chancellor promised he would do ‘whatever it takes’ yet, sadly, too many businesses are being left behind. For many small businesses, June is simply too late while other business owners who pay themselves minimal salaries need to have dividends treated differently.  

"We hope this diverse coalition of voices can use our collective strength to convince the chancellor to be true to his word and amend the existing schemes to cover and support all of these vital businesses and services that need it."