The chancellor's third plan to help the self-employed help

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled a boost to the financial support the state is offering self-employed workers hit by Covid-19, though the latest measures will be less generous than previous ones.

Under the new round of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), which opens on 1 November, self-employed workers will be able to apply for a grant of up to 40% of their typical three-monthly profits, up to a maximum of £3,750. This is twice the maximum payout of £1,875 initially promised by the chancellor, when he said in October that a third round of grants would be made available to cover the trading period from 1 November to 31 January 2021. But it compares poorly to payouts of up to £7,500 and £6,750 offered during earlier iterations of the scheme.

The latest grant also has more exacting criteria. In previous rounds, self-employed workers only had to show they had been adversely affected in some way by the pandemic; they will now be required to show they have been hit by falling demand specifically. This means, for example, self-employed people unable to work because they are self-isolating will not be able to apply for this award, although they would have been eligible previously.

Otherwise, the eligibility rules from the previous rounds of the SEISS remain in place. Self-employed workers need to have filed a tax return for the 2018-2019 financial year and earn more than 50% of their total income from self-employment. They must also have an average annual trading profit of less than £50,000 a year. The government has also promised a fourth round of the SEISS, with grants available to cover the period from 1 February 2021 to 30 April 2021, though it has not yet decided what they will be worth. Self-employed workers who think they are eligible for the third round grants can apply via the government’s online portal at Gov.uk.

Recommended

Small business: how to chase late-paying customers
Small business

Small business: how to chase late-paying customers

Many small business have trouble getting their customers to pay up on time. Here's what you can do about it.
23 Jan 2020
How to prepare your business for Brexit
Small business

How to prepare your business for Brexit

Whether we have a Brexit deal or not, new procedures for importers and exporters will apply from 1 January. Get your business ready now.
27 Nov 2020
How to take advantage of the government's extended Job Retention Scheme
Small business

How to take advantage of the government's extended Job Retention Scheme

The government has reactivated its job-protection programme for small firms. David Prosser explains how it works.
13 Nov 2020
Donald Kendall: helping Pepsi win the cold war
People

Donald Kendall: helping Pepsi win the cold war

Donald Kendall was there to serve Nikita Khrushchev a Pepsi during a famous cold war détente with Richard Nixon. He went on to become a 20th-century m…
30 Oct 2020

Most Popular

The next 20 years: five new technologies on the horizon
Global Economy

The next 20 years: five new technologies on the horizon

What will everyday life be like in two decades’ time? Matthew Partridge peers into his crystal ball.
12 Nov 2020
This week’s rally in value stocks is just the beginning
Value investing

This week’s rally in value stocks is just the beginning

The arrival of a vaccine this week saw huge gains in the markets and investors switching out of big-tech growth stocks and into “value” stocks in more…
13 Nov 2020
Share tips of the week
Share tips

Share tips of the week

MoneyWeek’s comprehensive guide to the best of this week’s share tips from the rest of the UK's financial pages.
13 Nov 2020