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Chancellor outlines scheme to pay self-employed 80 per cent of wages during coronavirus crisis


By Scott Maclennan

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Many self-employed had been wondering how they would be able to balance the books.
Many self-employed had been wondering how they would be able to balance the books.

Self-employed workers facing financial difficulties as a result of coronavirus have been offered grants totalling 80 per cent of their salaries up to a maximum of £2500 a month.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the measures similar to those already being provided for employees, promising the self-employed “you have not been forgotten”.

He had been under increasing pressure to do more for the self-employed who do not have the same safety nets as employees.

Last week, Mr Sunak unveiled one of the largest economic interventions in UK history, guaranteeing the salaries of all employees in the UK if they had to be sent home.

The measures contained in the new self-employed income support scheme are:

  • A taxable grant worth 80 per cent of average monthly profits over the last three years, up to £2500 a month
  • The scheme will be open to people across the UK for at least three months and could be extended for longer if necessary
  • Only open to anyone with trading profit of up to £50,000
  • Only available to people who make the majority of their income from self-employment
  • To minimise fraud only those who are already in self-employment with a tax return for 2019 will be able to apply

HMRC expect people to be able to access the scheme no later than the beginning of June.

Mr Sunak 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, from musicians and sound engineers to plumbers, electricians, taxi drivers, driving instructors, hairdressers, childminders and many others.

“Through no fault of their own, they risk losing their livelihoods.

“This scheme will be open to people across the UK for at least three months and I would extend it for longer if necessary.”

Earlier, Ross, Skye and Lochaber MP Ian Blackford called on the Chancellor to take more action saying: “The coronavirus lockdown makes it even more urgent that the UK government delivers a comprehensive financial package of support for the millions of freelancers, self-employed and unemployed people who are struggling to get by in this unprecedented emergency.”


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