Coronavirus: Government unveils grant scheme to support the self-employed

Coronavirus: Government unveils grant scheme to support the self-employed
Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events

Posted: Thu 26th Mar 2020

The chancellor has unveiled a new scheme to provide grants to help freelancers and the self-employed deal with the impact of coronavirus.

The government has faced intense pressure to deliver support for the self-employed that matches what it has announced for employees with the job retention scheme to cover wages.

Speaking in the daily coronavirus briefing, Rishi Sunak said a self-employed income support scheme will be set up to pay 80% of self-employed individuals' income up to £2,500 for three months. It will extended if necessary.

The taxable grant will be calculated using average monthly profits over the last three financial years up to £50,000 a year.

To qualify, people must earn the majority of their income from self-employment and must have filed a tax return for 2019. If they haven't, individuals have up to four weeks from today to file their return.

Sunak said the scheme covers 95% of people who earn most of their income from self-employed activities. It will launch by the start of June and grants will be backdated to March.

For those who are more recently self-employed and can't file a 2019 tax return, the chancellor said the scheme can't be used because the government has no information on them. He urged recently self-employed people to look at other support available including Universal Credit benefits.

Enterprise Nation's reaction

Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation, said: "This is a very generous package of support for the self-employed and I know our members will see it as an acknowledgment that the work they do is valued.

"There will be some casualties.  Those that are new to self-employment for example and those that have mortgages and bills to pay before June.

"It also comes with a warning shot that this will give the government a very good reason to change employment law and implement something similar to IR35 and other tax measures with renewed vigour as the self-employed, on this occasion, have asked to be treated in the same way as employees. If this applies to tax, there will be more changes ahead for the self-employed."

Stay up-to-date with the latest coronavirus support information

We are keeping you updated on the latest information on how to access the government's coronavirus business support here. You can also find advice and the chance to ask a question on Enterprise Nation's coronavirus business advice hub. Follow Enterprise Nation on Twitter too for updates.

Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events
I'm a freelance content creator and event host who helps small businesses and the organisations that support them. I have 18 years of experience as a small business journalist having interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs from billionaires like Sir Richard Branson to the founders behind brand new start-ups. I've worked for a range of leading small business publications and support groups, most recently as head of content at Enterprise Nation where I was responsible for the prolific output of content on the company's blog and social media. I'm based in Bristol where I run and host regular events with the local small business community and have strong connections to major business organisations in the south west region. In total, I've hosted over 50 events; from intimate meet-ups to conferences with an audience of hundreds including events for international brands like Facebook and Xero. I'm also a big fan of podcasts having hosted Enterprise Nation's Small Business Sessions as well as lots of online events including Facebook Live interviews, webinars and three live web chats from inside 10 Downing Street. With my partner, I co-run Lifestyle District, a lifestyle blog focused on culture, art, theatre and photography. I'm here to help. I'm volunteering free advice calls of up to an hour as part of the Recovery Advice for Business scheme, over the next 6 months. Please get in touch to see how I can help your business. 

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