Government announce 'unprecedented' support package for self-employed people affected by coronavirus pandemic

26 March 2020, 17:18 | Updated: 27 March 2020, 10:32

Chancellor Of The Exchequer Rishi Sunak announced the new measures in this afternoon's press conference

Rishi Sunak today announced an 'unprecedented' aid package to help self-employed people cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking during the press conference this afternoon, The Chancellor Of The Exchequer announced what he described as 'one of the most generous self-employed support schemes anywhere in the world'.

Addressing the self-employed viewers, he said: "you have not been forgotten. We will not leave you behind, we all stand together. So to support those who work from themselves, today I am announcing a new self-employed income support scheme.

He went on to say that the self-employed will be paid 80 per cent of profits, up to £2,500 a month, to help them cope with coronavirus crisis.

Rishi Sunak announced the new measures in a press conference today
Rishi Sunak announced the new measures in a press conference today. Picture: PA

He added: "This scheme will be open to people across the UK for at least three months, and I will extend it if needed."

It is similar to the support package announced last week for employed people, which promised that they will be paid 80 per cent of their wages by the government.

Mr Sunak went on to say: "Providing such unprecedented support for self-employed people has been difficult to do in practice.

"So I’ve taken steps to make this scheme deliverable and fair. To make sure that the scheme provides targeted support for those most in need, it will be open to those with trading profits up to £50,000. It will be available to people who make the majority of their income from self-employment."

He also added that only those who have filed a 2019 tax return can apply, and that those who missed the deadline will have four weeks to file it.

Those who qualify for this scheme will be able to receive the sum in June, and he encouraged those who need urgent help to apply for Universal Credit.

Rishi Sunak has announced a support package for the self-employed
Rishi Sunak has announced a support package for the self-employed. Picture: PA

The announcement comes just three days after Boris Johnson announced a police-enforced lockdown across the UK.

Read more: Employers could be fined for demanding workers turn up if they could be at home

On Monday (23 March), the Prime Minister revealed that the police will now have the power to fine people if they leave their homes for any reason other than the following:

- Shopping for basic necessities
- One form of exercise a day - either alone or with members of your household
- Medical need or to provide care help vulnerable person
- Travel to work - but only if necessary and you cannot work from home

He said: "These are the only reasons you should be leaving your home.

"You should not be meeting friends, you should not be meeting family members who don't live in your home, you should not be shopping except for essentials.

"If you don't follow the rules, the police have power to enforce them including with fines. We will immediately close all shops selling non-essential goods, other premises including libraries and places of worship.

"We will stop all gatherings of more than two people in public and stop all social events - excluding funerals".

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