Chancellor Rishi Sunak this evening announced a “self employed income support scheme” to help support the UK’s anxious self employed workers.
A huge number of self-employed individuals across the country have had their livelihoods shut down as a result of the coronavirus lockdown. I say freelance journalists and drag queens above, as the majority of my friends fall into those categories and they are seriously f*cking panicking right now because companies are trimming the fat and venues everywhere have shut down indefinitely.
I really hope they can find some comfort in this afternoon’s announcement. Love to all those absolute huns.
The chancellor’s brand-new scheme – which he describes as “one of the most generous packages in the world” – includes a taxable grant worth 80% of a self-employed individual’s average monthly profits over the last three years (up to £2,500 a month).
The chancellor added that the new scheme will be open to anyone with trading profits of up to £50,000 and that his new scheme will remain open for the self-employed for at least three months.
However, the “generous” scheme will only be available to those who make the majority of their income from self-employment and who filed a tax return for 2019 – BUT, if you’re behind on that (naughty, naughty), the government confirmed that they are going to give you a few extra weeks to file the return, in order to make yourself eligible for this package. If you missed the January deadline, you have four weeks from today to get those tax returns in, before you can begin taking the next steps.
The chancellor explained that the government is covering the same amount of income as it is for furloughed employees, who are also getting a grant worth 80%.
According to Mr Sunak, “95% of people who are majority self-employed will benefit from this scheme.”
“HMRC are working urgently, we expect people to access it no later than the beginning of June. If eligible, HMRC will contact you with an online form, they pay the grant straight to your bank account.”
I have to say, the word “June” was the one red flag in this otherwise reassuring plan. F*cking June?
However, the chancellor offered a degree of reassurance to those in need of help right now, reminding them that they can “access the business interruption loans” and “income tax payments due in July can be deferred to the end of Jan 2021”. He also reminded the public that the government has “changed the welfare system so you can access Universal Credit in full.”
At the end of this evening’s live press conference, the chancellor stared directly into the camera and addressed the nation’s self-employed watching at home:
“To all of those who are self employed, who are rightly anxious and worried about the next few months… you haven’t been forgotten, we will not leave you behind and we are all in this together.”
Image via Getty and Twitter
Having worked in children's media and publishing for almost a decade, Ben is thoroughly excited to now be able to swear in stories and features. He is such a big fan of Disney and Horror films that he started an LGBTQ+ podcast called 'Once Upon A Scream'. His mum listens. You can contact Ben at [email protected] Twitter: @PulsfordBen / Instagram: @thebenmidlerFollow