The UK government said on Thursday it will pay grants to many self-employed people who have lost their livelihoods because of the coronavirus crisis.
UK finance minister Rishi Sunak said the government would pay self-employed people a taxable grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits over the last three years, up to £2,500 a month.
But the scheme may not be available until June and will only be available to those who have a tax return for 2019, meaning the recently self-employed will be ineligible.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Self-employed people are a crucial part of the UK’s workforce who’ve understandably been looking for reassurance and support during this national emergency.
“The package for the self-employed I’ve outlined today is one of the most generous in the world that has been announced so far.
“It targets support to those who need help most, offering the self-employed the same level of support as those in with support packages for businesses and for workers, I am confident we now have the measures in place to ensure we can get through this emergency together.”
The scheme will be open to those with a trading profit of less than £50,000 in 2018-19 or an average trading profit of less than £50,000 from 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19.
To qualify, more than half of their income in these periods must come from self-employment.
The income support scheme, which is being designed by HMRC from scratch, will cover the three months to May.
Grants will be paid in a single lump sum instalment covering all three months, and will start to be paid at the beginning of June.
Individuals should not contact HMRC now. HMRC will use existing information to check potential eligibility and invite applications once the scheme is operational.
Those who pay themselves a salary and dividends through their own company are not covered by the scheme but will be covered for their salary by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme if they are operating PAYE schemes.