CIPR Budget response: extended government support means now is the perfect time to invest in public relations and communications
The Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) has welcomed the Chancellor’s decision to extend the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) and in particular the decision to widen the eligibility of this support announced in today's Budget (section 2.15, p.45).
Throughout the pandemic the CIPR has lobbied to extend the eligibility of the SEISS to include those who have become newly self-employed. The announced extension is estimated to support over 600,000 people.
However, the CIPR remains disappointed at the lack of financial support for those self-employed working as limited company directors. Coupled with the forthcoming roll-out of delayed off-payroll legislation – known as IR35 – many self-employed practitioners continue to face months of hardship.
From 6 April 2021 the off-payroll working rules are to be extended to medium and large entities in the private sector. These include third sector organisations, such as charities. This means the contractual arrangements of freelance practitioners – set up as Personal Service Companies – are changing and they may now be regarded as employees.
Last year, ahead of the proposed roll-out of IR35 reforms, the CIPR published a range of resources via this link for members:
- Member guidance – 'Freelancer Members and IR35'
- Template contracts for personal service companies to offer to clients, in versions for England and Scotland.
The existing CIPR 'client consultancy contracts' were also updated.
The extension and widening of the SEISS will be a huge relief to many self-employed practitioners who, as we know from our own research, have faced enormous hardship over the last 12-months. We are proud to have played our part in sharing the stories of our members and adding our voice calling for an extension of the scheme for those who have, until now, been unable to access any financial support. For many, this announcement is too late with recent ONS data showing a fall in over 650,000 self-employed people compared to last year.
We will continue to champion the value of our freelance members and the role they will play in rebuilding the economy. The decision to not apply corporation tax to companies with profits of £50,000 or less will be a welcome relief to many SMEs and limited company directors. However, the latter are still ineligible to access financial support and we will continue to call for that to change.
The last year has showcased the value that public relations brings to organisations as the bridge between efforts to adapt to this new world and communicating with stakeholders. Today’s extended support announced by the government will be a huge boost to many businesses and means now is the perfect time to invest in their public relations and communications functions to translate their corporate plans and help galvanise the economic recovery.
CIPR Lobbying for self-employed
- 27 March 2020 – CIPR and PRCA write to Chancellor calling for further support for small businesses
- 6 April 2020 – CIPR calls for government support for freelancers as research shows half have lost over 60% of income
- 20 April 2020 – “I lost every contact within the space of a week and a half” – CIPR submits freelancer evidence to government
- 27 April 2020 – CIPR joins “diverse coalition” of membership bodies to write to Chancellor for more self-employed and small business support
- 12 May 2020 – CIPR issues response to furlough extension: “provides more time and more options” but no further support for self-employed practitioners
- 24 September 2020 – CIPR and PRCA Welcome Chancellor’s Statement but raise concerns for self-employed
- 12 October 2020 – CIPR and PRCA view: expansion of Chancellor’s job support scheme “another missed opportunity” to support the self-employed
Notes to editors
About the Chartered Institute of Public Relations
Founded in 1948, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) is the world's only Royal Chartered professional body for public relations practitioners in the UK and overseas with nearly 10,000 members.
The CIPR advances professionalism in public relations by making its members accountable to their employers and the public through a code of conduct and searchable public register, setting standards through training, qualifications, awards and the production of best practice and skills guidance, facilitating Continuing Professional Development (CPD), and awarding Chartered Public Relations Practitioner status (Chart.PR).