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.
This will be for people who earn an average of up to £50,000 per year, translating to a cap of £2,500 per month.
Sunak said: “You have not been forgotten, we will not leave you behind, we all stand together.”
He said the scheme would begin no later than the start of June, with one payment that backdates to March. This has prompted concerns that many self-employed people could be left in the lurch in the meantime.
He told journalists at the daily press briefing today (Thursday 26 March) the Government would “look to do it faster” but would not be able to promise anything given the operational complexities.
Sunak pointed to Universal Credit and business interruption loans as immediate support measures and said, ultimately, the scheme would help 95% of people who are majority self-employed.
Tax return needed
He said the Treasury will look at whatever accounts people have if they do not have three years’ worth.
The scheme will be open for at least three months and will be extended if necessary.
It is only eligible for those who make the majority of their income from self-employment and only those who have a tax return for 2019. Individuals can still trade and receive the grants.
The Chancellor described the announcement as “one of the most generous self-employed support schemes anywhere in the world”.
It was suggested by Sunak the tax system may be reformed so that the self-employed lose some of their tax advantages and the system is less “inconsistent” moving forward. He later said he was “making an observation” to be discussed in the future.