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Coronavirus: Chancellor announces ‘generous’ self-employment support scheme

Rishi sunak

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced a ‘generous and comprehensive’ support scheme to help ‘95 per cent’ of those who are self-employed during the Covid-19 crisis

Following on from announcements about the ‘coronavirus job retention scheme last week, Sunak said the government would cover 80 per cent of the monthly wages earned by self-employed people.

But the first grants under the scheme are not expected to be made available until June. Sunak added that those who were self-employed and facing financial hardship could get ‘almost immediate’ universal credit.

The chancellor said the ‘operationally complex’ scheme would only be open to those who are already self-employed and have a self-assessment tax return for 2019. it is understood 22 per cent of all RIBA chartered practices are self-employed, sole practioners.

The amounts to be paid by the government would be calculated based on average monthly profits over the last three financial years. The payments would be capped at £2,500 per month and are initially expected to last three months.

The proposals are part of an ‘unprecedented’ economic package launched by the government to help businesses.

RIBA chief executive, Alan Vallance, said: ’This scheme should provide long-overdue relief to self-employed people across the UK, but many will be seriously concerned about how they will manage their finances until the fund becomes available.

‘There are also a number of unanswered questions around the eligibility of those with newer businesses and some types of self-employment. We will be pushing the Treasury for clarity.’

Almost a quarter of our chartered practices are sole practitioners and should be eligible

’Almost a quarter of our chartered practices are sole practitioners and should be eligible to apply, but most need funds to tide them over now, not in two months’ time.

’he challenge facing the Treasury is unenviably complex, but it needs to introduce some sort of interim financial support as a matter of urgency.’

Last Friday, Sunak announced a three-month VAT holiday for all businesses in a bid to help companies survive the coronavirus crisis – a tax break representing a £30 billion cash injection into the economy.

He also announced a new ‘coronavirus job retention scheme’, which would see the government pay 80 per cent of wages for employees who aren’t working, also up to £2,500 a month.

It is understood companies would be able to apply for a grant from HMRC to cover the wages of staff who were not working due to coronavirus shutdowns but who had not been made redundant.



Readers' comments (3)

  • details here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-a-grant-through-the-coronavirus-covid-19-self-employment-income-support-scheme

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  • As well as being concerned about the immediate needs of architects, as Alan Vallance rightly explains, we also need to consider the rest of the construction industry without whom our designs will not see the light of day. It remains to be seen, for instance, how many of those who work on our sites will meet the prior tax return requirement on which the scheme for the self-employed understandably depends.

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  • John Kellett

    Generous my a***. To be fair there is nothing stopping me from continuing to work. Other than the fact that the work has dried up in response to the virus :-(

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