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Sunday 29th March 2020

Coronavirus: Chancellor Rishi Sunak reveals interim cash support for self-employed people in UK

Speaking from Downing Street on Thursday

The UK government has announced new interim support to protect the incomes of self-employed Brits while they wait for emergency cash in the coronavirus crisis.

Speaking during a digital press conference at Downing Street this evening (Thursday, March 26), Chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed that self-employed people will be getting as much income support as employed workers.

But as they could be waiting until June before getting the cash they need, he announced that there are several measures in place to help in the meantime.

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He told reporters via video link that self-employed people are able to access the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, which was set up to help smaller companies struggling in the pandemic.

Interim support self-employed during the coronavirus crisis

And he said people who work for themselves also don't have to worry about paying self-assessment income tax payments, originally due this July, until January 2021.

The Chancellor said: "I know many self-employed people are struggling right now, so we've made sure that support is available.

The Chancellor spoke from Downing Street this afternoon (Credit: Sky News / YouTube)

"Self employed people can access the business interruption loans; self assessment income tax payments that were due in July can be deferred to the end of January next year; and we've also changed the welfare system so that self-employed people can access Universal Credit in full.

"A self-employed person with a non-working partner and two children living in the social rented sector can receive welfare support of up to £1800 a month."

When the full scheme comes into effect in June, at the latest, self-employed people will eligible for grants worth up to 80 per cent of their trading profits, for a maximum of £2,500 a month.

An 'unprecedented' level of support

Rishi continued: "The scheme I have announced today is fair. It is targeted at those who need it most. And crucially, it is deliverable. It provides an unprecedented level of support for self-employed people."

But the Chancellor's announcement has been slammed by some on Twitter, as the measures will not cover those who only went self-employed in the last year.

Crucially, it is deliverable.

It will also only help those who made the majority of their income from self-employment.

On Twitter, one user said: "So if I've understood correctly, there 'is nothing' the UK government can do for self-employed people who have got less than one year's earnings logged with HMRC. And instead they will have to rely on the social security system."

Another wrote: "Does nothing for people that have only been self-employed for less than a year! Completely unfair if you ask me."

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A third tweeted: "What can be done about self-employed people who have one year of accounts (business start-up) but in that time were also employed elsewhere, which are not processed in 2019 tax return information?"

Someone else demanded: "What about people who only went self employed in the past year? Are we not covered in this?"

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