Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 23rd March 2019, all weddings and other social gatherings due to take place within a minimum of the next 3 weeks must now be cancelled/postponed. Read our advice and guidance on this here.

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A Breakdown of the COVID-19 Support Available for the Self-Employed

Please note: All of the information in our posts and articles is accurate and correct at the time it was published. As the Covid-19 situation evolves, our advice might change. We will be frequently publishing new, up-to-date articles and advice, to reflect this.

The self-employed work force has been left in the dark over the last week or so (has it only been that long?) in terms of what support they are entitled to, as stricter measures have forced many of their businesses to close or come to a hault, for the next several weeks.

This has a huge effect on wedding vendors and the wedding industry as a whole. Thankfully, the Government finally provided us with an update last night, to help ease your worries. So, if you’re self-employed, here’s a breakdown of what you can expect:

  • You can get up to £2,500 per month, or 80% of your profits (whichever is lower) and it will be taxable 
  • You must earn under £50,000 per year as a self-employed person, to be eligible   
  • You can still work as you receive support 
  • Dividends are not covered (ie. for Directors of Ltd. companies)  
  • You need to have completed your tax return for this year, which means you have 4 weeks to file if you haven’t already done so!  

So, what’s this all about? 

Due to the huge surge in applications for Universal Credit by over 2 million people who are self-employed during this uncertain time, the Government has fast-tracked a process to provide essential financial relief for those affected by the Coronavirus crisis.   

The Government has put aside a multibillion pound support package for the self-employed people of the UK. A bill formally announced yesterday evening ensures cover for £2,500 per month OR 80% of a self-employed person’s monthly profits (averaged over 3 years), whichever is lower. This is to ensure a weekly income of up to £568.18, or whatever your usual weekly income would be, if it’s lower than this. A dramatic increase and a much better weekly income than the £94.25 of Universal Credit that was the only initial option.

All of this is designed to provide “parity of support” with those who are employed.   

What other benefits are included? 

  • Freelancers are also included in this legislation,which is great news for anyone who takes on ad hoc business, like design work, as well.  
  • The scheme is designed to ensure that wealthier self-employed people are not able to take advantage of the scheme, for example TV presenters or Lawyers.  

What are the drawbacks? 

  • You won’t get paid until June. This is the biggest issue the self-employed are facing with the new scheme. The process of setting up something like this is a massive undertaking and the Government is prioritising volume first. With the majority of the UK workforce being in standard employment, this means their support is being addressed first. We understand this might have a huge impact on you and how you’ll stay afloat for the next couple months, and we know how frustrated and concerned you must feel. Our advice here is to have a chat with your bank to see what support they can provide and have a look into any other measures that might help, such as Mortgage Holidays. Remember, you are not alone- we are all going through this together. There is support and help available, to make things manageable in the meantime.   
  • You won’t be entitled to support if you are only recently self-employed.  If you haven’t filed a tax return yet, you will not be eligible. But, there are other benefits and government support available during this time. Take a look at this post, for a little more guidance.  
  • Three years of financial records are going to be used to calculate your Coronavirus support. But, if you don’t have three years’ worth, just submit what you have and the HMRC will “see if there’s a way to support you” (Robert Jenrick, Communities Secretary).  

What else should I know?  

  • Applications are not open yet. The scheme will be managed by HMRC and is expected to be ready for applications by the end of April.  As part of the application, it is likely you’ll need to input your bank details, but checks that you have been affected by the Coronavirus outbreak are not expected to take place.   
  • There may be an increase in tax in the future so that self-employed people pay equal/equivalent tax to those who are employed, but we won’t see this for some time and at the very least not until this Coronavirus crisis is over.   

Whilst we know this update has both it’s pros and cons for the self-employed, we do want to note that the COVID-19 situation is evolving all the time. With daily updates from the Government, keep an eye out for any changes or news that might help you even further, during this period.    

If you’re still feeling worried or concerned, and are keen to chat with one of our Experts directly about the best steps to take right now and ways in which you can safeguard your business’s future, get in touch. Fill out our form, tell us the problems you’re facing, and a member of the team will get back to you.