Chancellor outlines new coronavirus support measures for the self-employed

Alonzo Simpson
March 26, 2020

BREAKINGChancellor Rishi Sunak has put forward a much anticipated financial package for the self-employed, who are losing their incomes due to the coronavirus pandemic but not until June. The four-week extension on tax returns also means it will be at least a month before support.

People writing to the government to demand a package for the self-employed included the heads of U.K. terrestrial broadcasters BBC, ITV and Channel 4, and the U.K. chief of ViacomCBS that owns Channel 5; a group of eminent economists from around the world; a U.K. department for digital, culture, media and sport committee; and a collective of leading musicians including Alison Balsom, Nicola Benedetti, Sarah Connolly and Sheku Kanneh-Mason.

Self-employed workers will be able to apply for a grant of up to £2,500 a month to help them cope with the financial impact of coronavirus, the chancellor has announced.

As is the case for the Job Retention Scheme (JRS), the grant is capped at £2,500 per month.

He added self-employed people can now access Universal Credit in full.

That's unlike nearly any other country and makes our scheme one of the most generous in the world.

To be eligible, individuals must earn more than 50% of their income from being self-employed, have trading profits of less than £50,000 ($61,000), and have a self assessment tax return for 2019.

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Baldwin said they are hoping to do a voice vote in the House, as coordinating 435 members is a lot more hard than 100 senators. And the legislation will provide direct payments to most Americans and significantly bolster unemployment insurance benefits.

UNIONS, think tanks and the Labour Party welcomed a belated announcement of relief for the self-employed today - but said questions remained about how rapidly support could be rolled out to hard-pressed workers.

Mr Sunak had previously promised to cover 80 per cent of the salaries of Brits who are in employment but, as it stands, the self-employed can only claim Universal Credit - which he raised to £94.25 a week - if they need to abandon work.

"Regardless of one's political leaning, the government's determination to "do whatever it takes" to get the United Kingdom through COVID-19 is certainly admirable".

Unlike employees, there is no sick pay for the self-employed, although there are tax breaks that come with being self-employed, such as lower national insurance.

But I know many self-employed people are struggling right now, so we've made sure that support is available.

So if any business is struggling, and worrying they may need to lose staff, I would urge you to log on to, and look very carefully at what support is available before deciding to lay people off.

The key issue is whether the government can set up a system which is easily accessible and quick to implement - and comparable with the scheme set up for businesses.

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