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One in five highly skilled freelancers face business closure to COVID-19

A fifth of highly skilled freelances face having to close their business due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, according to research from the University of Edinburgh Business School.

The study, which surveyed over 1,400 highly skilled freelancers, found that three quarters of them had lost income, with an average drop of 76%. As a result, over two thirds say they now have cashflow problems.

The research found that over 90% of these freelancers could not access the government's Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). This is mainly because 73% of the group work through a limited company.

Average stress levels in this group have increased by 80% because of the COVID-19w crisis.

Commenting on the research, Chloé Jepps, Head of Research at the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed, said: 'The plight of contractors working through limited companies can make for difficult reading because this group has not just been forgotten, but actually abandoned by the government. This research shows just how heavily this is falling on thousands of hard-working freelancers across the UK.

'The SEISS offers generous help to many self-employed people, but it is clear from this that there are gaping cracks in it through which thousands are falling – particularly limited companies and the newly self-employed. The government must urgently think again about these groups and get them the support they so badly need.'