UK Government Announces 'Most Generous' Support Package For Self Employed People

Cornelia Mascio
Marzo 27, 2020

Under the programme, the state will pay self-employed people a taxable grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits over last three years, up to a maximum of £2,500.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a "self employed income support scheme" to protect self employed workers in the UK.

"While we welcome the support package offered this afternoon by the Chancellor, we would be interested to hear Government's reasoning for excluding self-employed earning above £50,000 from the scheme", comments ContractorCalculator CEO Dave Chaplin. The scheme will be open for at least three months and self-employed people can continue to do business.

The scheme will also only be available to those who make the majority of their income through self-employment, and who have a 2019 tax return proving their self-employed status. Sunak said last week's support package for those on the payroll has already saved jobs at the likes of brewer BrewDog and sandwich chain Pret a Manger.

The British government will pay grants to self-employed people who have lost their livelihoods because of the coronavirus lockdown, further extending an unprecedented package of measures to prevent the economy from collapsing. "It is targeted to those who need it the most and crucially it is deliverable". Grants will be paid in a single lump sum instalment covering all 3 months, and will start to be paid at the beginning of June.

Those with an immediate need for finances can access Universal Credit or a business interruption loan.

"You haven't been forgotten, we will not leave you behind, we're all in this together", Sunak told a virtual press briefing. But in the light of the sharp rise in the number of claimants for universal credit and the horrendous jump in jobless claims in the USA, the chancellor could not afford to let the best be the enemy of the good.

He added that he was aware many self-employed people have been "deeply anxious" in recent weeks.

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.

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said unions should be consulted on how the scheme is rolled out so that support "reaches workers as soon as possible".

It comes after it was announced last Friday that the Government would cover 80 percent of wages up to £2,500 ($2,989) a month for staff being kept on by their employer.

Joseph Rowntree Foundation head of economics Dave Innes said it is "crucial" that self-employed people with little to no savings aren't forced by necessity to step out of self-isolation and go to work if the system takes time to implement.

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