Coronavirus: UK offers self-employed 80% of earnings

Self-employed people must wait until June to get 80% of their earnings covered by the state, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month for three months, in response to the coronavirus crisis.

The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, said the plan would be backdated to March and would cover those earning up to £50,000, or 95% of the self-employed. It was “one of the most generous schemes anywhere in the world” and ended weeks of uncertainty for those who work for themselves, he said.

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However, many of those struggling with the impact of coronavirus on their business will have to wait months to get any money and may potentially have to sign up for universal credit in the meantime.

The taxable grant will be based on the average monthly profits of the self-employed over three years, so people will need to have filed a tax return to be eligible.

Speaking at the government’s daily press conference, Sunak said: “The government will pay self-employed people who have been adversely affected by the coronavirus a taxable grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits over the last three years, up to £2,500 a month.”

The grant is equivalent to the help offered to salaried workers, after Boris Johnson had said there would be parity.

Sunak said it would be available to those who make the majority of their income from self-employment so only the “genuinely self-employed” would benefit.

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“And to minimise fraud only those who are already in self-employment who have a tax return for 2019 will be able to apply,” he said.

“95% of people who are majority self-employed will benefit from this scheme. HMRC are working on this urgently and expect people to be able to access this scheme no later than from the beginning of June.”

More details soon …

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