Chancellor announces help to get self-employed people through coronavirus crisis

26 March 2020, 17:09

By Megan White

Self-employed people will receive up to 80 per cent of their income from the government amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Chancellor has announced.

Rishi Sunak said under the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, the self-employed will receive a taxable grant of up to 80 per cent of their average monthly profits over the last three years up to £2,500 per month.

He said it will cover those with trading profits up to £50,000 and will cover people who earn the majority of their income from self-employment.

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But he said the scheme is expected to start operating at the beginning of June, prompting a fierce backlash from those already struggling financially amid the pandemic.

The Chancellor said only those who are already self-employed and who submitted a 2019 tax return can apply, but those who missed the deadline have four weeks from today to do so.

Mr Sunak said 95 per cent of those who are majority self-employed will benefit from this scheme.

The Chancellor said: "I’m proud of what we’ve done so far, but I know that many self-employed people are deeply anxious about the support available for them.

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"So to support those who work for themselves, today I am announcing a new Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.

"The government will pay self-employed people, who have been adversely affected by the coronavirus, a taxable grant worth 80 per cent of their average monthly profits over the last 3 years, up to £2,500 per month.

"Open for at least 3 months across the UK, I will extend if necessary.

"You’ll be able to claim these grants and continue to do business.

"We’re covering the same amount of income as we are for furloughed employees, who also get a grant worth 80 per cent.

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"That’s unlike almost any other country, making our scheme one of the most generous in the world.

"I’ve taken steps to make the scheme deliverable, and fair.

"It’s only open to those with trading profits up to £50,000, who make a majority of their income from self-employment. To minimise fraud only those already in self-employment, who have a tax return for 2019 can apply.

"95% of people who are majority self-employed will benefit from this scheme.

"HMRC are working urgently, we expect people to access it no later than the beginning of June. If eligible, HMRC will contact you with an online form, they pay the grant straight to your bank account.

"To make sure no one who needs it misses out on support, we have decided to allow anyone who missed the filing deadline in January, four weeks from today to submit their tax return.

"I know self-employed people are struggling right now, we’ve made sure:

- You can access the business interruption loans.

- Income tax payments due in July can be deferred to the end of Jan 2021.

- We’ve changed the welfare system so you can access Universal Credit in full.

"The scheme I have announced today is fair. It is targeted at those who need it the most and crucially, it is deliverable.

"It provides an unprecedented level of support for self-employed people."

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