coronavirus:-uk-government-unveils-aid-for-self-employed

Coronavirus: UK government unveils aid for self-employed

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Media captionChancellor Rishi Sunak announced the grant

Self-employed workers can apply for a grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits to help them cope with the financial impact of coronavirus, the chancellor has announced.

The money – up to a maximum of £2,500 a month – will be paid in a single lump sum, but will not begin to arrive until the start of June at the earliest.

Rishi Sunak told the self-employed: “You have not been forgotten.”

Wage subsidies of 80% for salaried employees were announced last week.

Shortly after the chancellor spoke, the number of people in the UK who have died with Covid-19 – the disease caused by coronavirus – jumped by more than 100 in a day for the first time.

The total now stands at 578.

The government had faced criticism for failing to provide support for self-employed and freelance workers in its earlier package of economic measures.

Mr Sunak said the steps taken so far were “already making a difference” but it was right to go further “in the economic fight against the coronavirus”.

  • Self-employed people will be able to apply for a grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits over the last three years, up to £2,500 a month.
  • At least half their income needs to have come from self-employment as registered on the 2018-19 tax return filed in January – anyone who missed the filing deadline has four weeks from now to get it done and still qualify.
  • The scheme is open to those who earn under £50,000 a year – up to 3.8 million of the 5 million people registered as self-employed.
  • Unlike the employee scheme, the self-employed can continue to work as they receive support.
  • The money, backdated to March, will arrive directly into people’s banks accounts from HMRC, but not until June.
  • The grants will be taxable, and will need to be declared on tax returns by January 2022.
  • Company owners who pay themselves a dividend are not covered.

The scheme does not cover people who only became self-employed very recently – the chancellor said they would have to look to the benefits system for support.

Coming up with a workable scheme had been “difficult”, he continued, because the self-employed were a “diverse population” and some of them earned a great deal.

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