TRADE groups have welcomed new measures to support self-employed workers who have been financially impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The UK Chancellor unveiled the new Self-Employed Income Support Scheme yesterday, set to provide direct cash grants to the self-employed worth 80% of their average monthly trading profit over the last three year, allowing them to receive grants of up to £2500 per month. Grants will be paid in a single lump-sum instalment covering all 3 months and will start to be paid at the beginning of June.
It's open to people whose businesses have trading profits of up to £50,000 and only those who have a self-assessment tax return from 2019 can apply.
The Chancellor said that 95 percent of the self-employed will benefit from the "unprecedented level of support", hoping people to access the scheme no later than June.
Labour's outgoing shadow chancellor John McDonnell warned: "My worry is that if people can not get access to the scheme until June it will simply be too late for millions".
Joseph Rowntree Foundation head of economics Dave Innes said it is "crucial" that self-employed people with little to no savings aren't forced by necessity to step out of self-isolation and go to work if the system takes time to implement.
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Britain will ramp up its bid to slow a surge in unemployment during the coronavirus crisis by pledging public money to cover national insurance and pension contributions for companies that temporarily ask employees not to work, as well their pay. I called for measures to be fair and fast - they have let the self-employed down on the latter part.
"The mia will continue to push the government to deliver on this promise but urges the chancellor to expedite delivery of the self-employed taxable grant sooner, providing the vital support this sector needs after a month of uncertainty, cancelled contracts, delayed payments and bleak forecasting".
ABC Finance expert Gary Hemming said there was still a lot of uncertainty for many about how to access support in the meantime.
"This is clearly an area where further action is needed by the Government", said Conservative MP Mel Stride, who chairs the influential Treasury Select Committee, in a statement on Tuesday. Those who are eligible will be contacted directly by the HMRC and will need to complete a form.
The first payment from June will be worth three months' pay and will require an online application to HMRC before it is paid into a bank account.
The measures will supplement provisions for tax breaks, loans and hardship grants that are already available to the self-employed.
In Germany, there is a €50 billion (S$79 billion) liquidity pot for its three million self-employed workers and small businesses, while France has a "solidarity fund", with the government pledging to pay out €1,500 to self-employed workers who meet certain criteria.