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.
In the latest step to protect individuals and businesses, Rishi Sunak has set out plans that will see the self-employed receive up to £2,500 per month in grants for at least 3 months.
Millions of people across the UK could benefit from the new Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, with those eligible receiving a cash grant worth 80% of their average monthly trading profit over the last three years. This covers 95% of people who receive the majority of their income from self-employment.
This brings parity with the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, announced by the Chancellor last week, where the Government committed to pay up to £2,500 each month in wages of employed workers who are furloughed during the outbreak.
Cleaners, plumbers, electricians, musicians, hairdressers and many other self-employed people who are eligible for the new scheme will be able to apply directly to HMRC for the taxable grant, using a simple online form, with the cash being paid directly into people’s bank account.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said:
Self-employed people are a crucial part of the UK’s workforce who’ve understandably been looking for reassurance and support during this national emergency.
The package for the self-employed I’ve outlined today is one of the most generous in the world that has been announced so far. It targets support to those who need help most, offering the self-employed the same level of support as those in work.
Together with support packages for businesses and for workers, I am confident we now have the measures in place to ensure we can get through this emergency together.
The scheme will be open to those with a trading profit of less than £50,000 in 2018-19 or an average trading profit of less than £50,000 from 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19.
To qualify, more than half of their income in these periods must come from self-employment.
To minimise fraud, only those who are already in self-employment and meet the above conditions will be eligible to apply. HMRC will identify eligible taxpayers and contact them directly with guidance on how to apply.
The income support scheme, which is being designed by HMRC from scratch, will cover the three months to May. Grants will be paid in a single lump sum instalment covering all 3 months, and will start to be paid at the beginning of June.
Those who pay themselves a salary and dividends through their own company are not covered by the scheme but will be covered for their salary by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme if they are operating PAYE schemes.
Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “85% of pubs are small or medium sized businesses run by independent operators or licensees who are self-employed, so the Chancellor’s support package today is welcome.
“Until today, the Government had focussed on helping pubs and other businesses with grants and loans, business rates relief and guarantees on staff salaries, which we warmly welcomed, recognising that it would help prevent permanent pub closures and staff losses. However, it did not specifically address the threat faced by self-employed publicans, whose personal incomes had instantly dried up as a result of the forced shutdown.
“This support announced today is critical. However, ongoing support from Government is still required throughout this crisis to sustain our great brewing and pub sector through this unprecedent lock down, so that when we are through this, pubs can return to being the heart of communities up and down the country.”