Sunak doubles COVID support for self-employed

Ahead of the COVID-19 lockdown coming into force on Thursday, Rishi Sunak is doubling support for self-employed people – see the full details of business support available, below. Tony McDonough reports

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Chancellor Rishi Sunak is doubling COVID support for the self-employed in November


Chancellor Rishi Sunak is doubling the business support available to self-employed people ahead of the national COVID-19 lockdown starting later this week.

From Thursday this week until December 2 restrictions similar to those in place from March until May will come into force across England. Restaurants and non-essential retail outlets will close, although takeaways will be allowed to remain open.

A number of areas of England were already under tighter restrictions and in October Mr Sunak announced two more grants for the self-employed would be paid out for November to January and February to April, covering 40% of average trading profits.

However, in view of the new lockdown the Chancellor says the Government will now pay 80% of average trading profits for November. This will mean the November to January payout will be worth 55% of trading profits. The maximum grant is £5,160 and the claims window will open on November 30.

At the weekend the Chancellor also announced that the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) – also known as the Furlough scheme – will remain open until December, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500.

Under the extended scheme, the cost for employers of retaining workers will be reduced compared to the current scheme, which ended on October 31. This means the extended furlough scheme is more generous for employers than it was in October.

In addition, business premises forced to close in England are to receive grants worth up to £3,000 per month under the Local Restrictions Support Grant. Also, £1.1bn is being given to Local Authorities, distributed on the basis of £20 per head, for one-off payments to enable them to support businesses more broadly. Mortgage holidays will also continue.

Mr Sunak said: “Over the past eight months of this crisis we have helped millions of people to continue to provide for their families. But now – along with many other countries around the world – we face a tough winter ahead.

I have always said that we will do whatever it takes as the situation evolves. Now, as restrictions get tougher, we are taking steps to provide further financial support to protect jobs and businesses. These changes will provide a vital safety net for people across the UK.”

  • Businesses required to close in England due to local or national restrictions will be eligible for the following:
  • For properties with a rateable value of £15k or under, grants to be £1,334 per month, or £667 per two weeks.
  • For properties with a rateable value of between £15k-£51k grants to be £2,000 per month, or £1,000 per two weeks;
  • For properties with a rateable value of £51k or over grants to be £3,000 per month, or £1,500 per two weeks.

Paul Cherpeau, chief executive of Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, added: “We are in the middle of a health crisis and we understand the need to lockdown again.

“However, as always we seek to ensure robust support for business, and encourage all our members to support each other and make use of the schemes the Government and Liverpool Chamber are providing, including the COVID strategy planning programme. We will get through this next phase and will continue to champion business needs.”

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