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

BRITAIN-VIRUS-HEALTH-POLITICS

Rishi Sunak's measures are unprecedented but they don't go far enough

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.

Millions of self-employed individuals will receive direct cash grants though a ground-breaking UK-wide scheme to help them during the coronavirus outbreak, the Chancellor announced today.

Coronavirus has caused the United Kingdom to go on lockdown, with many self-employed workers left without an income as they are forced to stay home.

Workers will be able to access the grant no later than June, and it is expected that 95 percent of people who are majority self-employed will be able to benefit from the scheme.

He told a press conference: "To support those who work for themselves, today I am announcing a new self-employed income support scheme".

To qualify, more than half of their income in these periods must come from self-employment.

Initially, this will be available for three months in one lump-sum payment, and will start to be paid from the beginning of June.

The delay in announcing measures for the self-employed has inevitably added fuel to the fire concerning the ongoing debate around IR35 and the Off-Payroll legislation. "These determinations could also be taken into account to help identify the most vulnerable self-employed workers who need Government support".

How do I claim the help?

With self-employed workers often earning more than the allowance under Universal Credit, many people feel their hands are tied and they must continue to work, even if it puts their lives or the lives of others at risk.

If you pay yourself a salary and dividends through your own company, you are not covered by the scheme but will be covered for your salary by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme if you are operating through PAYE. The number has risen fast since the financial crash of a decade ago.

As part of the latest announcement, the chancellor also suggested tax breaks for the self-employed may end in the future. It targets support to those who need help most, offering the self-employed the same level of support as those in work.

The new taxable grant will be available for three months and Sunak says will be extended if research shows it needs to be.

"The Government will pay self-employed people who have been adversely affected by the coronavirus a taxable grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits over the last three years, up to £2,500 a month". The idea is to prevent mass unemployment.

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