Budget  

Budget: Chancellor announces support for self-employed and businesses

Budget: Chancellor announces support for self-employed and businesses

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced further details for a fourth and fifth grant to support self-employed individuals affected by the pandemic.

A fourth Seiss grant will run for three months from February until April, worth 80 per cent of three months’ average trading profits up to £7,500 in total.

A fifth and final grant will be available from May onwards, worth three months of average profits.

This will be open to claims from late July.

But the chancellor said it would be fair to target support to those most affected by the pandemic.

This means for those whose turnover has fallen by 30 per cent or more will continue to receive the full 80 per cent.

But those whose turnover has fallen by less than 30 per cent will receive a reduced grant of 30 per cent.

Some 600,000 more self-employed people will also be eligible for government help as access to grants is widened.

Those who filed their tax return for 2019-20 by midnight last night are now eligible.

The government has spent £33bn supporting the self employed since the crisis began.

The chancellor has also extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), which pays 80 per cent of employees' wages for the hours they cannot work in the pandemic, until September 30.

However employers will be expected to pay 10 per cent towards the hours their staff do not work in July, increasing to 20 per cent in August and September, as the economy starts to reopen.

Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: "The extension of the self-employment grant to those who have just submitted their first tax return will come as a huge relief.

"The last year has been an incredible struggle in impossible circumstances without government support beyond Universal Credit. They will finally get more of the help they so desperately need.

"However, this doesn’t help all of those excluded from government schemes. There’s no respite for self-employed people with profits of over £50,000 or who receive less than 50 per cent of their income from self-employment, who will continue to battle on.

"It must seem even more unjust that the scheme is scooping up hundreds of thousands more people, and still leaving them behind."

Business grants

Sunak also announced a new restart grant in April after cash grants end. The government will give up to £6,000 to premises that can open soon and up to £18,000 to hospitality businesses that are forced to open later.

In total it has given £25bn in cash support to businesses in this pandemic.

It has also announced a new recovery loan scheme for businesses of all sizes with an 80 per cent government guarantee to lenders.

amy.austin@ft.com

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