The chancellor of the exchequer, Rishi Sunak (pictured), has announced a support package for the self-employed as Covid-19 tightens its grip on the economy.

Addressing the nation, 26 March, chancellor Sunak said he would pay the self-employed a taxable grant of up to 80% of their monthly profits up to a maximum of 2,500 for at least three months. The chancellor said figures will be calculated using average monthly profits over last three financial years.

Those who do not have three years of accounts can still apply on a case by case basis, with the minimum of one years’ accounts required.

The support package will be open to anyone with trading profits of £50,000. The self-employed will be able to continue to do business. There will now be a four-week opportunity for the self-employed to complete their tax returns, although funds may not be accessible immediately. Advanced payments through Universal Credit are available in the interim, circumventing the current five-week waiting list.

The chancellor also noted the government would be working to ‘tidy up’ the self-employment sector, as confusion remains over the difference between those trading as the sole director of a limited company and a self-employed individual in the more traditional sense. Tax laws will also change to create more equilibrium with those on PAYE.

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