Self-employed workers left in the dark as government support package set to end in three weeks

Updated: May 12

Self-employed workers are being financially left in the dark with the government support package set to end in just three weeks for millions of workers.

The uncertainty comes following yesterday’s Ministerial address to the nation detailing the government’s plan over the coming months to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.

According to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, the government are working towards a July time frame for the re-opening of the hospitality industry and some public places, whilst maintaining and enforcing social distancing requirements.

Self-employed workers in certain industries, like taxi drivers, are however unlikely to see earnings return to sustainable levels after the current government support package ends this month.

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, is set to provide an update this week on the employee furlough scheme that covers employed workers currently unable to or not required to work by their employer.

It is also hoped that the announcement will extend to give future clarity for self-employed workers eligible for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

Currently those who are eligible for the SEISS will be able to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their average trading profits up to a maximum of £7,500 (equivalent to three months’ profits), paid in a single instalment to help cover some of the losses caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The SEISS payment was back dated to cover March, April and May, but there has been no further details on how the government will support the five million self-employed workers from June onwards.

Martin Lewis, a TV presenter and financial expert, said via social media: “We need the Chancellor to tell us how long support lasts. The fact furlough is on till June but Self Employed support ends in 3 weeks, is a glaring inconsistency.”

HMRC will begin contacting self-employed workers this week who are eligible for the payment. Those successful in their claim will see the grant paid into their bank account by 25 May, or within six working days of completing the claim.

Last week, HMRC invited customers, or their accountants, to go online and check their eligibility for SEISS.

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