Support for self-employed workers

3 April 2020

The Government has released plans to support the estimated five million self-employed workers in the UK.

The Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) will support self-employed individuals impacted by COVID-19. The scheme will provide a taxable lump sum grant to self-employed people, worth 80 per cent of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

Councillor Richard Beacham, Cabinet Member for Housing, Regeneration and Growth said: “I welcome the support that has been announced for self-employed people. This new funding will be available from June, I know this won’t be ideal for many needing immediate support. 

“Please visit our website for all of the latest information surrounding the Coronavirus, we have included the latest detail of help available for businesses and employees.” 

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will use the average profits from tax returns over the last three years to calculate the size of the grant. The scheme will be open to those where the majority of their income comes from self-employment and who have profits of less than £50,000. The scheme will be open for an initial three months (it may be extended) with people able to make their first claim by the beginning of June 2020.

This scheme is expected to apply to around 95 per cent of those who earn the majority of their income from being self-employed.  However those who have had average annual trading profits of £50,000 or more and those who became self-employed after April 2019 and therefore have not filed a tax return yet will not be able to apply for support through this scheme.

Individuals should not contact HMRC now. HMRC will use existing information to check potential eligibility and invite applications once the scheme is operational. The grant will be paid directly into eligible claimants’ bank account. 

Anybody who is self-employed will still be eligible for other government support including universal credit and business continuity loans. For more information visit the GOV.UK website.
  • Applying for a business interruption loan.
    The temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme is open to self-employed people and offers access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million for up to six years. The Government could also offer a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest and fees on the loan. The scheme is now open for applications and is offered by all major banks.  
  • Deferring income tax payments.
    If income tax payments are due in July 2020 under the self-assessment system, these can be deferred until January 2021. 
  • Access universal credit in full.
    The Government has removed the minimum income floor to universal credit, and will also be boosting the standard allowance from 6 April 2020 - meaning a single person aged over 25 could get a standard monthly allowance of £409.89. 
The government has produced a frequently asked questions page on their business support pages.

Should residents, including self-employed workers consider alternative employment during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is support is available through the Council’s work zones.  This page includes a register function where residents can enter their details should they be keen to look for alternative employment. Staff will then look to match them to vacancies that may arise.

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