Chancellor to announce financial support for the self-employed

Published by Scott Challinor on March 26th 2020, 9:00am

On Thursday, chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to announce a government package which will guarantee an income for self-employed workers affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The news comes after prime minister Boris Johnson revealed that he wanted freelancers to have the same protections as Pay As You Earn [PAYE] staff who were kept on by their employers last week.

To prevent mass redundancies, Sunak guaranteed 80 per cent wage subsidies for such people up to £2,500 per month, leaving it at the discretion of the employer to pay the final 20 per cent.

Before Parliament underwent a shutdown until April 21 to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in the chambers, Johnson said: "We will do whatever we can to support the self-employed, just as we are putting our arms around every single employed person in this country", adding that he wanted a "parity of support" for the UK workforce.

Sunak admitted that it had been an "incredibly complicated" process accommodating for the self-employed, but it is expected that provisions set aside for them will match those given to PAYE workers.

The director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, Dr Adam Marshall, told the BBC: "For many people that have seen their businesses disappear in the blink of an eye, things like statutory sick pay or universal credit just isn't enough.

"It doesn't need to be perfect - we just need a system in place."

Over 9,500 people have been positively diagnosed with coronavirus in the UK, with the real number of cases likely to be higher still. The UK death toll is up to 465.

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Authored By

Scott Challinor
Business Editor
March 26th 2020, 9:00am

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