Teesside firm Endeavour Law responds to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s support package for self-employed workers:

Rishi Sunak yesterday made an announcement stating the government’s support package for the UK’s 5 million self-employed workers.

Although we are waiting for full details to become available in the coming days, the legal experts within our employment team have been working through some of the key points that are emerging to help answer your questions.

How much can a self-employed person expect to receive?

The scheme is a taxable grant that commits to paying self-employed workers up to 80% of their average monthly income and will be capped at £2,500pm.

Is the scheme open to every self-employed person?

If you earn the majority of your income from self-employment and have trading profits of up to £50,000, this scheme is expected to support you. The government estimates that 95% of the self-employed fall into this category.

Can I continue to do work whilst claiming these grants?

Unlike the employee Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough leave) where employees have to remain at home and not work, self-employed workers are permitted to continue to do business.

How will the government work out my taxable profits?

As trading profits fluctuate, the government will review the last three years of tax returns. If an individual has been in business for less than this time and filed fewer tax returns, they will utilise what is available.

If I haven’t yet submitted my tax return for 2019, can I still do so?

Yes, the government has announced a four-week extension as of today.

When will the fund be in place?

It is expected to be available to access no later than the beginning of June and, like the employment scheme, will be backdated to March 1st 2020.

How long will the scheme last?

Like the workers’ scheme, it is expected to last three months initially but will be extended if necessary.

Will I have to apply for the scheme?

If you are eligible for the scheme, HMRC will contact you directly and ask you to complete an online form. Payments will be made directly into your bank account.

Explaining how difficult it has been to create a scheme that is deliverable and fair, he said: “You have not been forgotten, we will not leave you behind, we all stand together.”

It’s vital that employers seek legal advice from the specialists at a time where guidance from the Government is being regularly updated. Our employment law team are on hand to support you with any advice you need.