Two million self-employed support claims made, but no clarity on future help for anxious workers

The Chancellor has announced that more than two million self-employed workers have applied for government income support grants since it went live last week.

However there has been no indication as to whether further support after this month will be provided as five million self-employed workers continue to adhere to lockdown measures.

The Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) was created to support people affected by the coronavirus lockdown, similar to the scheme offered to business who can furlough employees.

The Chancellor also told MPs that the value of the claim has so far reached £6billion.

The news came as Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, responded to questions in the House of Commons on Monday asking how he plans to modify the SEISS in the coming months ahead as part of the Government’s lockdown exit strategy.

Sunak replied: “The self-employment support scheme opened last week ahead of schedule and provides support worth up to £7,500 to millions of individuals.

“I am pleased to tell the House that, at the end of yesterday, there had been more than 2 million claims, with grants worth £6 billion in total being claimed for. Those people will have the money in their bank accounts within six working days of their claim, and of course, I will keep the scheme under review.”

Everyone eligible for the SEISS will be able to receive the government grant by 25 May, or within six days of a completed claim.

The government’s support package for the self-employed was a welcomed cash boost for most workers. However, no further income to support self-employed taxi drivers, and the millions of other workers, has been granted after the end of this month.

Earlier this month Sunak announced the employee furlough scheme would be extended by a further four months until October, with workers continuing to receive 80% of their current salary.

However, the self-employed, still adhering to lockdown measures, remain unsure about their futures with workers still looking for financial reassurances from the government to “avoid a cliff edge moment”, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

Martin Lewis, a financial expert and TV presenter, also called for the Chancellor to act. Lewis wrote on social media: “Dear @RishiSunak many self employed rightly worried that tho furlough runs to Oct, their income support scheme period only covers 12 more days.

“Surely a government that promotes itself as pro-entrepreneurship must extend the coverage. If not 10,000 or 100,000s small businesses will fall.”

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