It has been very clear to me for the last few weeks that more had to be done to help people working for themselves in the difficult financial circumstances we find ourselves in.
Jackson Carlaw, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, wrote to the Chancellor of the Exchequer urging him to make support available self-employed people across the country.
Now the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has announced a package that will prioritise support for those who really need the help to ensure that no-one is left behind.
For the first time in history, the UK Government will step in and support earnings worth 80 per cent of your average profits over the last three years up to £2,500.
In order to access the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme, you must be self-employed now, have trading profits of no more than £50,000 and have a 2019 tax return. If you missed the deadline, you will have another four weeks to submit a tax return in order to be eligible for this scheme.
HMRC will contact you if you are eligible and your funding will be paid directly into your bank account no later than the beginning of June, backdated to the middle of March 2020.
I appreciate that these are extremely difficult times for many businesses and that’s why the UK Government is offering interest free loans to help bridge the gap until your funding is available as well as further support which I have outlined below:
- You can now more easily make a claim for Universal Credit (UC) or new style Employment and Support Allowance. For more information on how to claim, please visit https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit and https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-style-employment-and-support-allowance. The amount which can be claimed has recently been increased in recognition of the extraordinary situation, and you will now be able to claim and to access advance payments upfront without needing to attend a Jobcentre Plus.
- The UK Government have also deferred income tax self-assessment payments. Income tax self-assessment payments for July will be deferred until the end of January 2021.
- The council tax reduction scheme has received additional funding. To find out if you are eligible please visit https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/scotland/benefits/help-if-on-a-low-income/help-with-your-council-tax-council-tax-reduction-s/. Details on how to apply for a council tax reduction via your local authority can be found at https://www.mygov.scot/council-tax/discounts-exemptions-and-reductions/.
- The UK Government has agreed with mortgage lenders that they will offer ‘repayment holidays’ of 3 months to households in financial difficulty due to COVID-19. Customers should contact their lender at the earliest possible opportunity to discuss if this is a suitable option.
- The UK Government is making interest free loans available to the self-employed via the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to help bridge the gap until funding is available. Further information is available here: https://www.british-business-bank.co.uk/ourpartners/coronavirus-business-interruption-loan-scheme-cbils-2/