Help for the self-employed

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Update: Millions of self-employed individuals will receive direct cash grants though a ground-breaking UK-wide scheme to help them during the coronavirus outbreak.

In the latest step to protect individuals and businesses, the Chancellor has set out plans that will see the self-employed receive up to £2,500 per month in grants for at least 3 months.

Millions of people across the UK could benefit from the new Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, with those eligible receiving a cash grant worth 80% of their average monthly trading profit over the last three years. This covers 95% of people who receive the majority of their income from self-employment.

This brings parity with the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, announced by the Chancellor last week, where the Government committed to pay up to £2,500 each month in wages of employed workers who are furloughed during the outbreak.

Cleaners, plumbers, electricians, musicians, hairdressers and many other self-employed people who are eligible for the new scheme will be able to apply directly to HMRC for the taxable grant, using a simple online form, with the cash being paid directly into people’s bank account.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said:

Self-employed people are a crucial part of the UK’s workforce who’ve understandably been looking for reassurance and support during this national emergency.

The package for the self-employed I’ve outlined today is one of the most generous in the world that has been announced so far. It targets support to those who need help most, offering the self-employed the same level of support as those in work.

Together with support packages for businesses and for workers, I am confident we now have the 

See the Government’s website for more detail: www.gov.uk.


Original article (Weds 25th): The five million self-employed people in the country have felt increasingly abandoned by the Government. Last week employees were told they were eligible for an 80% wage guarantee scheme during the coronavirus situation. But all the self-employed could do was apply for Universal Credit.

During a debate in parliament yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 24th), the Chancellor was asked to make a statement on financial support for the self-employed in the light of the covid-19 pandemic.

Nus Ghani Wealden MP

During the debate Wealden MP, Nus Ghani said:

I know that my right hon. Friend is working night and day to help businesses, and to help people stay in work. I am incredibly grateful for all the support he has given me as I respond to the self-employed in Wealden. The decision to take out a loan is proving to be quite an anxious one for the self-employed, if that is the only thing on the table. I will read out an email from Anna, a self-employed wedding photographer who has had to give up work, and who is going to try to find work elsewhere:

“I am loath to take any loans offered, as there is no guarantee that future work will be able to take place because we have no idea how long this pandemic will last.”

I ask my right hon. Friend to take into account Anna’s dilemma before making any announcement concerning the self-employed.

However it is complicated as the self-employed file their tax returns in arrears and their income can be irregular. In addition, roughly a fifth of people that were self-employed last year, may no longer be defined as much.

Civil servants are understood to be working round the clock to find a solution. A Government source has told the BBC, Chancellor Rishi Sunak will unveil a package of measures at the daily coronavirus press conference tomorrow (Thursday).

You can read the full debate on the They Work For You website.

1 COMMENT

  1. There are a lot of worried self employed people out there and you don’t want money worries on top of anxiety about becoming ill, making sure aged parents are OK and so on. Surely the simplest way is to take the last three years of tax returns? At the very least a flat rate sum could be given to everyone, and more than the derisory £94 a week that’ll hardly pay anyone’s rent, let alone food, fuel etc. And landlords have been relieved of the order not to evict people And when will construction workers get some clear instructions?

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