UK Government Unveils Measures To Support Freelancers During COVID-19 Crisis; Says 95% Will Be Covered

UK Government Unveils Measures To Support Freelancers During COVID-19 Crisis; Says 95% Will Be Covered

03/26/2020

The UK government has confirmed it will economically support the country’s freelancers during the coronavirus crisis.

Speaking in the daily press briefing from Number 10, chancellor Rishi Sunak said it will “pay self-employed people who have been adversely affected by the coronavirus a taxable grant worth 80% of their average month’s profits over the last three years, up to £2,500 ($3,000) a month”.

The measures will cover anyone who makes the majority of profits from their freelance work, and has profits not exceeding £50,000 ($61,000). To qualify you must have registered as self-employed with a tax return for 2019, Sunak added, though there will be an extended deadline of four weeks from now for those who have not yet filed.

The chancellor claimed this would cover “95% of people who are majority self employed”. It will last for at least three months from now, and freelancers can continue to earn money as well as claim the benefit, Sunak said.

The money will be available from the beginning of June and freelancers will be contacted directly, he explained. Until then, self-employed workers can access business interruption loans, or Universal Credit. Income tax payments will also be deferred until January next year. 

Workers who are furloughed, i.e. forced to take unpaid leave by their employer while the crisis continues, are also covered by the measures for freelancers.

The UK government has been facing increasing pressure to introducers measures to support the country’s self-employed, after last week it put in place economic policies to support businesses. Bodies representing workers in the creative industries, many of whom are freelance, have been particular vocal.

I’m proud of what we’ve done so far but I know many self-employed people are deeply anxious about what’s available for them,” commented Sunak as he introduced the new measures.

“There will be challenging times ahead. We will not be able to protect every job or save every single business,” the chancellor added.

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