In an announcement that has long been awaited, Rishi Sunak, the UK Chancellor unveiled the next set of measures, designed to help the self-employed workers of the UK. This affects our fenestration industry as many in sales and installation are self-employed. It will be called: Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme.

These are the key details according to the BBC:

  • a taxable grant will be paid to the self-employed or partnerships, worth 80% of their profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month
  • this will be available for three months in one lump-sum payment, and will start to be paid from the beginning of June
  • more than half of a claimant’s income needs to come from self-employment
  • the scheme will be open to those with a trading profit of less than £50,000 in 2018-19, or an average trading profit of less than £50,000 from 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19
  • those who are recently self-employed and do not have a full year of accounts will not receive any help under this scheme

There are two points here that will stand out for a lot of people. The cash not being available until June will be far too long for a lot of people, and may still result in job losses and bankruptcies. Second, if you have been self-employed for less than a year, you’re not going to be eligible. There will be calls already for the money to be made available much quicker.

Whilst I agree that the length of time is going to be difficult for many self-employed, we have to consider that the infrastructure to pay people doesn’t exist yet and that takes some time to put together.

This is how to claim:

  • HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will use existing information to identify those eligible and will invite applications
  • the application will require them to confirm that they meet the eligibility requirements
  • it will be paid straight into a bank account, which eligible taxpayers will need to confirm on their application form
  • people do not need to contact HMRC now, if they are eligible HMRC will contact them directly

Will the self-employed be happy with this? No other scheme exists like this in most parts of the world, so the fact its been announced is a big deal in itself. With no existing infrastructure to start the scheme immediately, it will take some time to build.

Are you self-employed? Does this new scheme help? Will it be enough to make you feel better about being at home? All comments are welcome via the comments section below.

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