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.
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.
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.