Last week the Government unveiled an unprecedented wage guarantee scheme to support the incomes of full-time workers for those businesses who had to shutter their doors.
While comprehensive, last week’s package failed to provide cover for the UK’s 5 million self employed workers.
Today, the Government has gone further, extending a similar scheme to the self-employed.
The Government’s new self-employed income support scheme provides:
A taxable grant for those affected by the negative economic impacts of Coronavirus of 80% of a self-employed workers monthly wages up to £2,500. The grant payment will be based on average monthly profits over the last three financial years.
The scheme will be open to self-employed workers with an income of £50,000 or less and who have submitted a self-assessed tax return for 2019. The scheme will run for at least three months with those eligible for the scheme able to apply direct to HMRC, the Government claims 95% of self-employed workers will be covered by the scheme.
This is a new and complex system that will need to be built from scratch (by a team already working on the Pay Retention Scheme for employees). The Chancellor was clear that he did not want to make any false promises but hoped that the scheme would be up and running by the first week of June.
In the meantime self employed workers can utilise the benefits system or where eligible the Government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) for additional support.
In order to ensure that the late-filers aren’t left disadvantaged, the Chancellor also announced that 2019 self-assessed tax returns filed in the next four weeks would be accepted into the scheme.
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