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Government will contact self-employed about support by mid-May

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Summer roll-out: the Government has confirmed it will make payments by early June 2020
Summer roll-out: the Government has confirmed it will make payments by early June 2020

Related tags: coronavirus

Publicans who are self-employed face anxiety over when they will next be paid, given that many pubs are closing of their own volition and the likelihood of others soon being asked to close.

Self-employment income support scheme

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that self-employed people facing financial difficulties will be able to have 80% of their monthly earnings covered by the Government, calculated by average profits over the past three financial years.

However, the scheme offers a maximum payment that is equivalent to £2,500 per month – the same as employed staff currently furloughed. Publicans who receive the grant can continue to work or take on other employment, including voluntary work.

Announcing the scheme on 26 March, the Chancellor said individuals would have to wait until June to receive the one-off payment.

It was later revealed (Tuesday 14 April) that HMRC will aim to contact those eligible by mid-May 2020, and will make payments by early June 2020.

The online service for people to make claims is not available yet.

Government support

Pub operators can apply for universal credit (UC) and receive up to a month’s advance without needing to physically attend a Jobcentre. This benefit is a standard allowance to cover living costs of those who are low income or out of work.

There are also extra payments for people in certain circumstances, including having children, having a disability or health condition preventing you from working, or needing help paying rent.

Here is what the Government website​ says about how much you could receive:

Your circumstances

Monthly standard allowance

Single and under 25

£251.77

Single and 25 or over

£317.82

In a couple and you’re both under 25

£395.20 (for you both)

In a couple and either of you are 25 or over

£498.89 (for you both)

Financial hardship charity Turn2Us has devised a calculator for people to work out how much they are entitled to. It can be used on the Licensed Trade Charity’s website here.

The Government has also said that self-employed claimants on UC, who are required to stay at home or are ill as a result of coronavirus, will not have a minimum income floor (an assumed level of income) applied for a period of time while they are impacted.

As it stands, statutory sick pay (SSP) still does not apply to self-employed people or those earning below a limit of £118 per week. More than 610,000 people have signed an online petition​ asking the Government to change this.

If you are self-employed and staying home according to Government advice, you may also be able to receive new-style ‘employment and support allowance’:

This will be available from day one of a self-isolation period and is based on your national insurance contribution record. You won’t have to produce a ‘fit note’ for this.

The charity Turn2Us has got more information about applying for this​ on its website.

Charity support

The Licensed Trade Charity has encouraged publicans to apply for its short-term hardship grants for those in extreme financial hardship. 

To apply, you must have been in the licensed trade for five years or more. The charity said it would not be able to replace 100% of someone’s lost income during this time but could help alongside Government and employers’ help.

It can also offer practical support with rent or mortgage interest arrears and help those at risk of losing their accommodation. They have encouraged publicans to speak to their mortgage company and credit providers, as well as landlords, about their situations.

Licensed Trade Charity chief executive James Brewster said: “Along with the rest of the hospitality industry, we’re devastated by the effects of Covid-19 on the pub, bar and brewery industry right now. We’re working harder than ever to spread the news that you’re not alone no matter what situation you might find yourself in.

“From short-term hardship grants to financial support with rent or mortgage arrears and telephone services for those who are feeling the effects of self-isolation, there is help available to those in trade right now, which we hope will lessen the burden of this added pressure in these difficult times and beyond.

The charity has more information about how to access support on its website​.

Related topics: Legislation, UnitedWeStand

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