The Chancellor Rishi Sunak will today announce a package of support for Britain’s 5m self-employed people to help them through the coronavirus pandemic after Boris Johnson decreed they should have “parity of support” with employed counterparts.
The self-employed would submit forms to HM Revenue & Customs, the tax authority, declaring their recent income, if there was full “ parity” with the scheme for furloughed employees, the state should pay 80 per cent of lost earnings up to a monthly cap of £2, 500. The 80 per cent figure could be set lower for the self-employed.
The Chancellor told MPs on Tuesday: “ The fact is the universe of 5m self-employed, we are dealing with contains such a wide variety of people that we are unable to target support. The challenge is designing something that gets to the people who we want to help, while at the same time being affordable and not having to benefit absolutely everybody. That is proving to be problematic but we are hard at work on it. There’s no way of designing a scheme which is totally fair. But if you’re going to spend money, you are going to spend it on vulnerable people, not multimillionaires”. One-fifth of the self-employed were already on universal credit, a benefit system that has already received an extra £7bn to deal with the crisis.
Mr. Sunak disappointed some airlines when he told them he would only consider giving “bespoke support as a last resort”, available on strict terms after all commercial avenues were exhausted.