Coronavirus: Self employed workers to have 80% of wages covered by government

By Helena Biggs | 26 March 2020 | Movers & Shakers, News

Self Employed Business

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announced financial support available to self employed personnel, whose businesses have been closed or affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

In a statement aired on BBC News on 26 March, he addressed viewers saying: “I’m proud of what we have done so far, but know that the self employed are deeply anxious. You have not been forgotten or left behind.”

He then revealed that:

  • Self-employed people facing financial difficulties will be able to have 80% of their monthly wages covered by the government (up to £2500), which will be calculated using average monthly profits over last three financial years. This will initially last for three months; longer if required.
  • The scheme will only be open to those who are already self-employed and have a self-assessment tax return for 2019.
  • It will apply to those with trading profits up to £50,000 a year.
  • The scheme will be able to be accessed by the first week of June.

Sunak also said that 95% of those that work on a majority self-employed basis will benefit and called the scheme ‘one of the most generous in the world.’

The remaining 5% are those with an average income of £200,000. HMRC will contact eligible self employed personnel directly, and any self employed person that failed to complete their tax return in January will have an additional four weeks to complete.

Self employed personnel will also be able to access universal credit in full.

He finished by commenting: “The last 10 days have shaken our economy like never before. What we have done will stand up as one of the most significant economic schemes in history.

“There are challenging times ahead and the government will not be able to protect every single job or protect every single business, but ministers have worked to make sure it is targeted at those who need it the most.”