Support for the Self-Employed

I welcome that measures have been announced to help self-employed people, many of whom are especially vulnerable during this time. 

We must do whatever it takes to protect jobs and livelihoods across the UK, and we must adapt our support as the path of the virus changes. It is right that the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme has been adjusted to ensure parity with the CJRS. The SEISS grant rate for the November to January period will increase from 40 per cent to 80 per cent of average trading profits, up to a maximum of £7,500. Increasing our support for the self-employed will protect millions of jobs and give people and businesses the certainty they need over what will be a difficult winter.

I welcome the SEISS Grant Extension, which will provide critical support to the self-employed at a level similar to the new Jobs Support Scheme. The grant was initially extended to cover 40 percent of average monthly trading profits, paid out in a single instalment covering 3 months’ worth of profits, and capped at £3,750 in total. It is also worth noting that from January, outstanding income tax self-assessment payments can be extended for 12 months.

It is right that the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme has been adjusted to ensure parity with the CJRS in November. The SEISS rate for the November period will increase from 40 per cent of trading profits to 80 per cent. Following the previous doubling of the SEISS grant extension from 20 per cent to 40 per cent of trading profits, this will mean that the total level of the grant for the three month period of November to January will be increased to 55 percent of trading profits and the maximum grant will increase to £5,160. 

I also welcome that HMRC will pay this increased grant sooner than previously planned, and in time for Christmas, and that the window for claiming will open earlier than previously announced, on 30 November.

I understand that the Treasury will review the level of the February-April grant and set this in due course and I have passed on your comments to my colleagues at the Treasury such that they are aware of the strength of feeling on this issue.

I hope that these measures come as a welcome relief to those in self-employment who have been put in a difficult position during this crisis.

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