Christmas bonus for self-employed as government support is doubled PLUS more loans for businesses

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced more help for the self-employed and an extension of government-backed business loans.

The government has doubled the support it is giving self-employed people during the November lockdown. They will now receive 80% of their pre-Covid profit. 

It also promises they will not have to wait so long for the money, with the claims window for the three months November to January opening at the end of November rather than the middle of December.

The changes come in a third installment of the UK-wide Self-Employment Income Support Scheme announced yesterday (2 November) by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

The announcement followed the publication of an estimate by the Institute for Fiscal Studies that around 450,000 self-employed workers could end up having to live on less than the national minimum wage as a result of the re-introduction of a ‘minimum income floor’ to universal credit payments due to go live on 13 November.

The support will return to 40% for December and January, so the increase for the three months amounts to 55% of pre-Covid trading profits for the three months, increasing the maximum payable to £5,160.

The increase will give £4.5billion to the self-employed between November and January.

The changes will help self-employed individuals who temporarily cannot carry out their work or have suffered reduced demand due to the coronavirus restrictions.

More businesses will also be able to benefit from government-guaranteed loan schemes, which have been extended to the end of January. And firms will be able to top up existing Bounce Back Loans should they need additional finance to cover the November lockdown.

Announcing the changes, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: "So far we’ve provided £13.7billion of support to self-employed people through the crisis – and I’ve always said we will continue to do everything we can to support livelihoods across the UK.

"The rapidly changing health picture has meant we have had to act in order to protect people’s lives and I know this is incredibly worrying time for the self-employed.

"That's why we've increased the generosity of the third grant, ensuring those who cannot trade or are facing decreased demand are able to get through the months ahead."

To download a government update of help available to the self-employed and businesses click here.