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Chancellor announces new Self-Employed Income Support Scheme for those affected by COVID-19

26 March 2020

The Chancellor has today (26 March 2020) announced further measures to support self-employed workers that have been affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Over 5 million people in the UK are self-employed, and approximately 22% of RIBA Chartered Practices are sole practitioners. The new Self-Employed Income Support Scheme will therefore provide relief to a large proportion of the UK’s workforce over the coming few weeks and months.

What does the new Self-Employed Income Support Scheme entail?

  • A taxable grant worth 80% of average monthly profits from over the last 3 years. This is capped up to £2,500 a month.
  • Those eligible for the grant can claim for this whilst continuing to do business.
  • The scheme is available to self-employed people across the UK for at least 3 months.
  • If you’re eligible HMRC will contact you directly, ask you to fill out an online form and then pay the grant.

To be eligible for the scheme individuals must:

  • Earn more than 50% of your income from self-employed activity
  • Earn less than £50,000 a year
  • Have been self-employed in the 2019/20 tax year and continue to be so for the 20/21 tax year

To ensure individuals do not miss out on support, the Government have decided to allow anyone who missed the January deadline to submit their tax return an additional 4 weeks to do so.

When will the scheme be available?

HMRC are working to get the scheme up and running as soon as possible – no later than the beginning of June.

As the scheme won’t be available to self-employed individuals just yet, those that require urgent assistance might be able to access the following support instead:

  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loans: more information on these can be found here.
  • Deferred self-assessment tax payments: self-assessment income tax payments that were due in July 2020, can now be deferred to the end of January 2021.
  • Welfare support:
    • The government has changed the welfare system so that self-employed people can now access the Universal Credit in full.
    • A self-employed person with a non-working partner and 2 children living in social rent can receive welfare support of up to £1800 a month.

Find out more about the scheme here.

Read the RIBA’s response to the announcement here.

The RIBA will continue to work to inform Government of member concerns surrounding COVID-19

Please feedback any concerns you have as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak by filling in our survey.

Should you have any further questions, please get in touch by emailing info@riba.org.

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