Chancellor Rishi Sunak says self-employed 'not forgotten' as he announces £2,500 grants

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has today announced ‘unprecedented’ financial support for self-employed people during the coronavirus outbreak – taxable grants of up to £2,500 per month.

Mr Sunak, speaking from Downing Street, said: “You have not been forgotten. We will not leave you behind.”

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He says people will get a taxable grant of 80% of their average monthly profits for the past three years up to a limit of £2,500 per month, for at least three months.

95% of workers

The money will be paid as a lump sum but will not arrive until the beginning of June at the earliest. The Chancellor said the move would cover 95% of self-employed workers.

The policy echoes the Chancellor’s previous commitment to subsidise firms for up to 80% of staffing costs, as long as employees are not laid off.

Mr Sunak said: "To support those who work for themselves, today I am announcing a new self-employed income support scheme.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak speaking at a media briefing in Downing Street. Photo: PA/JULIAN SIMMONDS

"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 three years, up to £2,500 a month."

Low and middle earners

The scheme will be open to anyone with trading profits of up to £50,000 per year who earn a majority of their income in self-employment.

A requirement to access support is to have filed an income tax self-assessment last year.

Mr Sunak described the combined support for workers as ‘one of the most significant economic interventions in the history of the British state’.

It is open to anyone with trading profits of up to £50,000 and will only be available to those who make the majority of their income from self-employment so only the "genuinely self-employed" benefit.

"And to minimise fraud only those who are already in self-employment who have a tax return for 2019 will be able to apply," he said.

Mr Sunak name-checked Scottish company Brewdog as a firm which has publicly announced plans to retain staff.