Rishi Sunak today announced unprecedented measures to help keep businesses afloat during the coronavirus pandemic – but will it help self-employed and freelance workers?


Chancellor Rishi Sunak today unveiled “unprecedented” measures in a bid to prop up the UK economy amid the coronavirus crisis.

The measures include £330bn worth of government-backed loans, which will be made available to businesses to ease the financial burdens caused by the virus.

The £330bn in loans – which is equivalent to 15% of GDP – are designed to help struggling UK businesses pay for supplies and rent as well as their workers’ salaries.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled government-backed loans worth £330bn to prop up the UK economy.

Other measures to be implemented include an extension to business rates relief and a three-month ‘mortgage holiday’ for people in financial difficult due to the economic effects of the coronavirus.

For small and medium sized businesses, the chancellor also announced an extension to the Business Interruption Loan Scheme he announced at last week’s Budget. This scheme will now provide loans of up to £5m, rather than £1.2m, with no interest due for the first six months.

Will the new measures help self-employed workers?

The Chancellor’s announcement follows growing concerns about how the incomes of self-employed and ‘gig economy’ workers have been impacted by the pandemic.

Many freelancers have reported losing work and income, as businesses struggle to come to terms with the effects the coronavirus outbreak is having.

While there was no specific measures announced by the chancellor regarding the self-employed, the promise of government-backed loans may encourage more businesses to retain and hire freelancers in the coming weeks and months.

A three-month ‘mortgage holiday’ may also help to ease the financial anxiety on freelancers who have a mortgage, but there was no announcement regarding relief for renters.

Rishi Sunak did suggest that an employment support package will be revealed soon, after the details are finalised with businesses and trade unions, but with no Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) currently available to self-employed workers, and no support for those who have lost work, it remains a distressing time for the 5 million self-employed workers in the UK.

See the reaction to the Chancellor’s announcement from freelance groups and campaigners below:

If you are self-employed and are worried about paying your tax due to COVID-19, then HMRC have set up a dedicated helpline to provide support.

The helpline number is 0800 0159 559.

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