The Government has come under intense scrutiny in its support to the self-employed and freelancers. On Friday the Chancellor announced that the self-employed would not be covered by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme but would have easier access to benefits to cover a drop in income.
There is further hope, however. An extract from the Coronavirus Bill 2020 was supposed to complete its passage through the Commons on the 23rd March. If passed, this will ensure that the net monthly earnings of (a) the self-employed and (b) freelancers do not fall below 80% of that received over the last three years or £2,917, whichever is the lower.
The purpose is to top up self-employed pay in a similar way to the grant reimbursing employers for 80% of employee’s pay. Boris Johnson’s spokesperson said yesterday: “We understand the position the self-employed are in. We have always said we will go further when we can and are actively considering further steps. We appreciate the urgency of the situation and officials are working around the clock to find a well-targeted support package.” It is hoped this will go to the Lords today, deal with any amends at report stage tomorrow and go back to MPs on Thursday such that it comes into law by close on Thursday.
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