Self-employed affected by coronavirus crisis set to be offered help

A financial package aimed at helping self-employed workers get through the coronavirus crisis will be announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak today, with the government under growing pressure to throw the sector a lifeline

By Claire Lewis
Thursday, 26th March 2020, 7:26 am
Updated Thursday, 26th March 2020, 7:26 am

The move comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Parliament he wanted to achieve ‘parity of support’ so the self-employed could have similar levels of protection to waged workers.

The Chancellor will outline his measures today, on the day the number of people testing positive for Covid-19 is likely to pass 10,000.

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Help is expected to be announced today for the self-employed affected by the coronavirus crisis

As the Commons shut down early for Easter due to the escalating epidemic, “Mr Johnson told MPs: There are particular difficulties with those who are not on PAYE schemes as ... I think the whole House understands.

“We are bringing forward a package to ensure that everybody gets the support that they need.”

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He added: “I cannot, in all candour, promise the House that we will be able to get through this crisis without any kind of hardship at all.

“We will do whatever we can to support the self-employed, just as we are putting our arms around every single employed person in this country.”

A total of 97,019 people had been tested with 87,490 negative results, while the number of deaths of UK patients who tested positive for Covid-19 increased from from 422 to 465 is a jump of 43.

The economic impact of the outbreak has also brought a large spike in the number of people applying for Universal Credit.

Almost half a million benefits claims have been received by the Department for Work and Pensions over recent days.

Around 477,000 claims have been ‘processed’ since last Tuesday, with 105,000 being made for Universal Credit on Tuesday alone this week, sDWP Permanent Secretary Peter Schofield said.

The unprecedented pressure and volume of new claims has led to people reporting delays, being unable to get through on the phone and struggling to reach advisers.

It comes as the department's website, Understanding Universal Credit, received approximately 200,000 hits last week.