Chancellor unveils help for self-employed workers

On the 26 March, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a scheme to help self-employed workers who have been hit by the COVID-19 crisis.

Under the scheme the government will pay self-employed people a taxable grant based on an average of their earnings over the past three years.

The grant will cover up to 80% of earnings up to a limit of £2,500 a month.

To be eligible self-employed workers must have filed a tax return for the 2018/19 tax year and have average trading profits under £50,000 for the past three years.

Directors of their own companies who are paid through PAYE may be able to get support using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

The self-employed scheme will be available from June this year and run for three months but may be extended if necessary. In the meantime the Chancellor said people can access Universal Credit, business loans or keep on working.

HMRC will contact self-employed workers if eligible for the scheme and invite them to apply online.

Detailed guidance about the grants can be found here.

Business groups welcome Chancellor's support for the self employed

Business groups have backed Chancellor Rishi Sunak's scheme to help self-employed workers through the COVID-19 crisis.

Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, said: 'Many self-employed people across the UK will be hugely relieved.   

'These new measures will provide essential support to those facing significant uncertainty and loss of income.

'Given the complexity of the task, it's understandable this will take time to deliver. Fast clarity on how and when money will reach their bank accounts will help individuals to plan.'

Derek Cribb, CEO of the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed, said: 'This is an unprecedented package and a very welcome response to our campaign for freelancers and the self-employed.

'While this assistance is practical and wide-ranging it does not, however, cover all self-employed people. We will keep working to fill in these gaps.'

Mike Cherry, the National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: 'This bold support package from the government will give much-needed help to vast numbers of self-employed workers.

'The self-employed community underpins the UK economy. They are the individual risk-takers who don't expect the same benefits as employees.

'Many tax-paying self-employed who will be helped by today's measures will be relieved. Although the deal is not perfect, the government has moved a very long way today.'

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