Will self-employed people get help with rent?

Yolanda Curtis
March 26, 2020

"It seems grossly unfair that employees of all incomes are covered up to £2,500 per month by the JRS, yet high-earning contractors are penalised during a time of national crisis because they are good at what they do".

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has announced the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) to help the self-employed navigate their way through the coronavirus pandemic.

"95% of people who are majority self-employed will benefit from this scheme".

The scheme will be open to those with a trading profit of less than £50,000 in 2018-19, or an average trading profit of less than £50,000 from 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2017-18.

It will be called the Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme, and is open to those who were trading in the last financial year, still trading now, and planning to continue doing so this year.

To qualify, more than half of their income in these periods must come from self-employment.

The delay in announcing measures for the self-employed has inevitably added fuel to the fire concerning the ongoing debate around IR35 and the Off-Payroll legislation.

Funds will be available no later than the beginning of June, the chancellor said, but in the meantime the self-employed will be able to access a business interruption loan and have full access to Universal Credit.

How do I claim the help?

This covers 95% of people who receive the majority of their income from self-employment.

"Otherwise, many people's finances might struggle to bounce back".

There are more than five million self-employed people in the United Kingdom, earning an average of £781 a month. And it looks like self-employed people could be lose their precious tax breaks.

How does the new help compare with salaried workers?

According to reports from government sources, setting up this system is much more complicated for self-employed people given that their incomes are often irregular and some are not on PAYE schemes.

A plan had already been announced for those who are employed.

The new taxable grant will be available for three months and Sunak says will be extended if research shows it needs to be.

"The government will pay self-employed people who have been adversely affected by the coronavirus a taxable grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits over the last 3 years up to 2,500 pounds per month", Sunak said at the government's daily news conference. The idea is to prevent mass unemployment.

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