New lifeline for Liverpool city region’s self employed
A programme to help self-employed people manage their finances during the coronavirus crisis has been launched in the Liverpool city region.
Liverpool social enterprise, The Women’s Organisation, is the lead agency delivering the new £250,000 extension to the Better Off Finance scheme, partnered by Citizens Advice and RAISE, a charity that provides free benefits and finance advice.
Backed by Building Better Opportunities via the European Social Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund, the programme will provide a lifeline for local entrepreneurs who need support and guidance in managing their personal finances to weather the current crisis.
Self-employed people who have been critically impacted by the pandemic will now be able to access advice from a dedicated Better Off Finance Key Worker who can support them in accessing the best welfare support for them.
This includes advice around Universal Credit and other legacy benefits such as tax credits, housing benefits and council tax benefits. The expert team will also be able to offer practical advice and guidance on negotiating arrangements around other personal finances.
Maggie O’Carroll, chief executive of The Women’s Organisation, which also runs the city region Enterprise Hub programme, said: “These are unprecedented times where many self-employed individuals have, understandably, found themselves in a critical financial position.
“Particularly those who may have fallen through the gaps in the Government’s emergency support packages, for example if they have previously paid themselves through dividends or not yet been able to access the income support scheme.
“Expanding Better Off Finance support to the self-employed will not only be paramount in protecting the livelihoods of hundreds of entrepreneurs across the region, as well as their immediate financial security, but consequently in safe-guarding our local economy as these individuals are able to continue offering their goods and services in the long-term.”
O’Carroll also stresses the importance for those who are already in receipt of benefits to seek advice and check before they apply for Universal Credit.
She added: “It you are considering applying for Universal Credit but are already in receipt of other benefits, then we would urge you to reach out for advice and complete a ‘better off calculation’ first, to see how your current payments might be affected. You might not necessarily be better off.
“Through the Better Off Finance programme our partners – your local Citizen’s Advice – are on hand to help you navigate your way through this process and can also help in negotiating other arrangements around your personal finances.”
The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority also backed the scheme and offered its support in securing the all-important expansion for the region’s entrepreneurs.
Anyone who is self-employed and registered with HMRC in the Liverpool city region is able to access the support and can do so by contacting The Women’s Organisation directly via [email protected]