Chancellor Announces "Grant" For Self-Employed Suffering Due To COVID-19

27 Mars, 2020, 01:52 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Chancellor Rishi Sunak speaks during a media briefing in Downing Street London on coronavirus

The scheme will offer those who are self-employed a taxable grant of 80% of their average monthly profits over the last three years, up to a maximum £2,500 per month.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak confirmed the Covid-19 support package nearly a week after the Tories had announced an 80 per cent government subsidy for bosses to pay workers while firms temporarily shut down.

The scheme will be open to anyone with trading profits of up to £50,000, to help only those who need the most help. As is the case for the Job Retention Scheme (JRS), the grant is capped at £2,500 per month.

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

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 2017-18.

These include a strengthening of the welfare safety-net with a £7 billion boost to Universal Credit, income tax and VAT deferrals, £1 billion more support for renters and access to three-month mortgage holidays. The chancellor said those applying for universal credit should be paid within a few days.

The Chancellor added: "95% of people who are majority self-employed will benefit from this scheme", which he claimed is "targeted at those who need it most".

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.

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There are more than five million self-employed people in the United Kingdom, earning an average of £781 a month.

Roughly a fifth are in the construction sector, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), with hundreds of thousands of others working in the motor trade, professional services, and education.

How does the new help compare with salaried workers?

As part of the latest announcement, the chancellor also suggested tax breaks for the self-employed may end in the future.

Mr Sunak said his rescue deal shows he is treating the self-employed like employed workers, but that in return everyone must pay in - hinting at reforms that could see the self-employed lose some tax advantages.

The Chancellor noted that the SEISS would be available for at least three months and extended if necessary, and that self-employed would be able to claim and continue to do business.

"Government already has a very simple way of identifying freelancers who it believes work broadly in the same way as employees and are likely to be of high risk of needing urgent support". The idea is to prevent mass unemployment.

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