Government support announced for self-employed

You have not been forgotten.  You have not been left behind. We all stand together.”

These were the words spoken by the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, this evening as he announced unprecedented support for self-employed workers  to cope with the impact of Coronavirus.

The new Self-Employed Income Support Scheme has been announced to support those who work for themselves.  The Government will pay a taxable grant worth 80% of average monthly profits, capped at £2,500 per month.  Income will be calculated based on average profits over the last 3 years.  The grant will be available for at least 3 months, to be extended for longer if necessary.

It was acknowledged that providing such support is difficult to administer in practice.  To make the scheme fair it will be open to anyone with trading profits of up to £50,000 and it will be available for those self-employed workers who have submitted a taxable return for 2019. For those who missed the tax return deadline on 31st January 2020, an extension will be available to submit the return for a further 4 weeks from today.  Only those who make the majority of their income from self-employment will be eligible.

HMRC are working on this urgently and access to the scheme is promised by the beginning of June at the latest.  HMRC will contact those eligible directly.  To apply a simple online form can be completed and the grant will be paid straight into bank accounts.

As this grant will not be available immediately, the Chancellor reminded people of other short-term options available as part of the “coherent, coordinated and comprehensive” economic plans that have been announced recently, in addition to benefits that can be applied for.  

It was confirmed that the self-employed can continue to do business during this period, unlike employees on Furlough leave.

Updated 26th March 2020

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