Support for Self-employed Unveiled But Grants Won’t Kick In Until June

March 27, 2020

The chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak has announced details of financial support mechanisms designed to help the UK’s millions of self-employed professionals.

However, there are concerns about how many people could still find themselves in serious financial trouble in the coming weeks because the relevant schemes won’t commence fully until June.

Millions of people, including huge numbers of self-employed, have found themselves struggling to maintain their incomes as a result of the coronavirus outbreak and the ‘stay at home’ rules that have been implemented in recent days.

Employees of companies have been told that 80 per cent of their wages, up to £2,500 per month, will be covered by government funds and self-employed people have now been informed they can also claim equivalent support on the basis of their average monthly profits.

For lots of people, that support is much needed and very welcome but many will still be worried about how they’ll get by financially between now and when the government’s support kicks in to help them.

There are fears as well that the Universal Credit system is being overloaded as it becomes inundated with new applicants, who will also need to wait five weeks before they receive any funds from the government after their claims have been approved.

“With so many of the self-employed facing a collapse in their earnings, the chancellor is right to act,” said Frances O’Grady, the general secretary of the Trades Union Congress.

“This is a welcome step forward for self-employed and freelance workers across the economy, from construction to the creative industries.

“It’s vital that support reaches workers as soon as possible. Many are already dealing with severe hardship.”

Dame Gillian Guy from the Citizens Advice charity welcomed the support for self-employed people announced by the chancellor, describing it as necessary in the face of such a serious time of crisis and national emergency.

However, Dame Gillian also called for further action to be taken to protect people whose livelihoods have been taken away or made much more insecure.

“With the benefits system under immense pressure, bill holidays and a pause on debt collections could help to ease the strain on family incomes,” she said.

“We look forward to working with the government to make sure no one falls into unmanageable debt as a result of this public health crisis.”

Paul Barber

Head Adviser at our Manchester Office

Tel: 0800 001 4247
Email: enquiries@ukdebt.org.uk

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