Coronavirus  

More than 2m claim on self-employed scheme

More than 2m claim on self-employed scheme

More than two million self-employed people have sought financial help from the government's coronavirus support scheme since it launched last week. 

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) launched several weeks earlier than planned, opening its online service for the self-employed to make a claim on May 13. 

Speaking to the House of Commons yesterday (May 18) chancellor Rishi Sunak said more than two million self-employed people in the UK had made claims against the scheme, with grants worth a total of £6bn being claimed for. 

The scheme allows claimants to receive grants covering as much as 80 per cent of their earnings during the pandemic, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month. 

Once a claim has been submitted, HMRC will carry out checks and pay the grant into the nominated bank account within the next six working days, with all claimants expected to receive their grants by May 25.

The grant will not need to be repaid but will be subject to both income tax and self-employed national insurance.

The government was praised for the "impressive logistical achievement" of launching the scheme early, but the self-employed have been warned of claims management companies looking to claim on an individual's behalf - something that is not allowed under the scheme rules.

The chancellor has also recently extended the government's furlough scheme by four months in a bid to support people back to work in a "measured way" post-lockdown.

Last week Mr Sunak revealed the Job Retention Scheme — originally set to end in June — would be extended until the end of October with no changes to how the scheme operates until July.

rachel.mortimer@ft.com 

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