CORONAVIRUS: FSB welcomes government support package for self-employed

By Jamie Hill - 27 March 2020

Business

Responding to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s pledge of financial support for the self-employed impacted by the coronavirus crisis, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Mike Cherry said:

“This bold support package from the government will give much-needed help to vast numbers of self-employed workers, guaranteeing 80 per cent of income to those affected, with earnings of up to £50,000.

“This is a time of national emergency, and it is very welcome that the Government has listened to FSB and responded with a multi-billion-pound package to support the most financially vulnerable entrepreneurs, and to do so through the self-assessment system.

“This follows help in the Budget and since, that was aimed squarely at small businesses such as a cut in the jobs tax, cover for small employers that cannot pay their employees, business rates holidays, cash grants, mortgage holidays, rent protections, and interest-free, fee-free loans. We hope the raft of support will keep as many small businesses as possible afloat.

“The self-employed, however, remained a glaring gap. They needed more help, and especially those with least resources to prepare for this storm. We have heard despairing stories from hard-working hairdressers, bakers, childcare providers, freelancers, drivers and many others, seeing the businesses they’ve spent years building dry up in a matter of days. It is many of those strivers who today’s package will support.

“The self-employed community underpins the UK economy. They are the individual risk-takers who don’t expect the same benefits as employees. In this moment of a collective national effort to overcome a global pandemic, today’s package is a significant, multi-billion-pound improvement on what was proposed last Friday.

“Many tax-paying self-employed who will be helped by today’s measures will be relieved. Although the deal is not perfect, the Government has moved a very long way today.

“This is an incredibly challenging situation for everyone. While the healthcare response is paramount, overcoming the economic disruption also requires a speedy response in the interests of jobs and future growth. Today’s announcement will give hope to many hard-working, self-employed entrepreneurs, and it is important that the scheme is ready on-time and delivered as soon as possible. As this will be run through self-assessment, it is vital that any late filers submit their 2018-2019 return, right now, or they risk missing out.”

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