UK government says self-employed will get coronavirus grants worth 80% of their average earnings

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The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has pledged financial support for the self-employed impacted by the coronavirus crisis.

He has said the self-employed will be able to access grants worth 80 percent of their average earnings.

The move has been welcomed by the business world; and naturally, the self-employed but the devil as always will be in the detail.

National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Mike Cherry comments: “This bold support package from the government will give much-needed help to vast numbers of self-employed workers, guaranteeing 80 per cent of income to those affected, with earnings of up to £50,000.

“This is a time of national emergency, and it is very welcome that the Government has listened to FSB and responded with a multi-billion-pound package to support the most financially vulnerable entrepreneurs, and to do so through the self-assessment system.

“The self-employed community underpins the UK economy. They are the individual risk-takers who don’t expect the same benefits as employees. In this moment of a collective national effort to overcome a global pandemic, today’s package is a significant, multi-billion-pound improvement on what was proposed last Friday.”

Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, comments: “Many self-employed people across the UK will be hugely relieved tonight.

“These new measures will provide essential support to those facing significant uncertainty and loss of income.

“Given the complexity of the task, it’s understandable this will take time to deliver. Fast clarity on how and when money will reach their bank accounts will help individuals to plan.

“The self-employed make an immense contribution to our society and across many industries. They will play a critical role in the UK’s recovery once we overcome the worst of the virus.”

from Albert Azis-Clauson, CEO and co-founder of freelance career platform, Underpinned says the move is the missing piece of the jigsaw. 

He comments: “Today the Chancellor has added the missing piece of the jigsaw to his bold rescue plan. The announcement will come as a huge relief to the five million self-employed people in the UK who have had a very uncomfortable few days waiting for this news.

“From gig economy workers to highly skilled freelancers, our self-employed workforce is helping to transform the UK economy and it is only right that we provide it with the support it needs to survive in these unprecedented times.”

Oliver Prill, CEO for challenger bank Tide said he has concerns over the timing though: “We welcome the much anticipated measures announced today to support the self-employed during the coronavirus crisis.

“The timing is concerning though, waiting until June to receive 80% of their usual profits and relying on universal credit (which could take 5 weeks to come through) in the meantime will leave many self-employed people vulnerable.

“We understand the complexity of the system, but worry that this delay could have a devastating impact on our self-employed community. A faster way of delivering this support could be to secure certification for the amount people are entitled to through financial institutions, that have the necessary data at their fingertips.”

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