What financial help is now available for the self-employed during the coronavirus pandemic?
The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has just announced a new Income Support Scheme for the self-employed, saying “You have not been forgotten….we all stand together.”
The announcement came after pressure mounted following the announcement of the furloughed workers scheme last week.
Coronavirus Self-employed Income Support Scheme (ISS)
- The scheme will be eligible for self-employed people whose livelihood has been affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
- The scheme will pay a taxable grant up to 80% of a self-employed person’s average monthly income over the last three years, capped at £2,500 per month.
- The scheme will initially last three months, but may be extended.
- Unlike the job retention scheme for employees, who cannot work, the self-employed eligible for ISS can continue to do business.
Who is eligible for the self-employed Income Support Scheme (ISS)?
Mr Sunak admitted the scheme had been difficult to put into practice and steps are being taken to make it deliverable and fair. Therefore, it will only be open to:
- The self-employed with trading profits up to £50,000
- The majority of their income has to come from self-employed work.
- It will also only apply to those who are already self-employed with a 2019 tax return filed, although a four-week period has been given for those who missed the January deadline.
When will coronavirus financial support for self-employed workers be available?
HMRC are again urgently working on the scheme and the worrying news is that it is unlikely to be up and running before June. The self-employed do not have to do anything, HMRC will contact them when they are ready.
One of the most generous self-employed income support schemes in the world
Mr Sunak has said this is one of the most generous such schemes in the world and goes alongside the other measures already announced for businesses. He believes 95% of self-employed people will be able to take advantage of the scheme.
How do I claim the self-employed worker benefit?
Our expert solicitor's view on the coronavirus ISS
Paul says “while it is true the scheme appears to be generous, self-employed people will be deeply concerned that the scheme will not be up and running until June at the earliest. Many will be understandably anxious as to how they are going to survive until then. We will have to wait and see if the government will provide more detail soon.”
Advice for self-employed workers during the coronavirus lockdown
We will post any announcements, along with advice for employers and HR professionals as soon as we are able. These will be shared on our website and on social media.
Our Employment and HR newsletter will continue to be sent out monthly, though as important information is announced by the government, we may send this to you more frequently.
Our quarterly employment seminars are postponed until further notice, though we are looking into ways of delivering these online.
We have a dedicated coronavirus page, where we will post links to all articles, fact sheets and downloads concerning the outbreak and implications for businesses.