AOP seeks urgent response from Treasury for 'forgotten' directors

Petition receives nearly 78,000 signatories calling on Government to provide support for overlooked company directors

The Association of Optometrists (AOP), has written again to the Treasury seeking a response to its emails of 3 April and 22 April in which it drew attention to the unfair treatment of five groups of workers in the Government's schemes to support workers during the COVID-19 crisis.

In the email, the AOP highlighted that since its previous correspondence, the Government has received a petition signed by nearly 78,000 people calling on the Government to  provide a COVID-19 Support Package to company directors in line with that offered to the employed and self-employed. 

In its response, the Government said that "under current reporting mechanisms it is not possible for HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to distinguish between dividends derived from an individual’s own company and dividends from other sources, and between dividends in lieu of employment income and as returns from other corporate activity". 

The AOP disagrees with this claim. HMRC has the information to isolate dividends paid to owner operators via the submission of iXBRL statutory accounts for Limited Companies and the details held at Companies House.  Close Companies could make submission for eligible shareholders as they can for furloughed employees. 

The AOP urges the Government to reconsider its response, saying that it is arbitrary and unfair that people who have used the tax efficient arrangements encouraged by legislation be excluded from benefits that are available to people who have chosen to reward themselves via PAYE arrangements.


For media enquiries, please contact Mary Jones, Interim PR and Media Manager, at the Association of Optometrists, [email protected] or telephone 020 7549 2040.

Notes to Editors

Association of Optometrists

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is the leading representative membership organisation for optometrists in the UK. We support over 82% of practising optometrists, to fulfil their professional roles to protect the nation’s eye health. For more information, visit