Boris Johnson announces new financial help for self-employed in lockdown

2 November 2020, 18:22

By Ewan Somerville

The self-employed will be able to claim government support worth 80% of trading profits, Boris Johnson has announced, in a breakthrough for struggling workers.

The greater support for the self-employed comes after Chancellor Rishi Sunak extended the 80 per cent furlough scheme for employees as pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops are ordered to close from Thursday.

It followed widespread pressure on Downing Street to not neglect freelancers after ministers caved into public pressure to offer furlough beyond 31 October to cover the four-week England national lockdown.

People will be told to stay at home, apart from when attending school, college, university, work or go food shopping.

Under the latest instalment of the UK-wide Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), self-employed workers will receive 80% of their average trading profits for November.

The grants will also be paid faster than previously planned, with the claims window being brought forward from 14 December to 30 November.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “We're increasing the support to the self-employed from 40% of trading profits to 80% for November.

”SEISS is calculated over 3 months so this increases the total grant from 40% to 55% of trading profits for November to January and the max grant increases to £5,160.“

The Prime Minister pledged technological advances would “defeat this virus by the spring” as he tries to ward off a growing Tory rebellion over the second national lockdown for England.

He promised MPs a fresh vote on the next stage of measures to combat coronavirus when “we intend to return” to a regional tiered system on 2 December.

But a growing number of senior MPs on the Conservative backbenches have said they will oppose the new lockdown during a vote on Wednesday.