Coronavirus: Self-employed support expected

SUPPORT for self-employed workers is expected to be announced by the UK government imminently as the latest support package for industry during the coronavirus pandemic.

Support for self-employed workers has been highlighted by the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) as one of its priority issues for the industry, with the way the support is calculated a particular concern. The UK government’s package of support, announced last week, included a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which will see the government pay 80% of the wages of ‘furloughed workers’ who would otherwise have been laid off, up to £2500 a month; and the deferral of VAT payments for businesses until June 30.

However, support for self-employed workers was not included.

The expected announcement comes as the Scottish Government’s business support scheme goes live.

Hospitality businesses with a rateable value between £18,001 and £50,999 can apply for a one-off grant of £25,000, with businesses that have a rateable value up to £18,000 able to apply for a smaller grant of £10,000.

Businesses can apply for the grants via their local authority’s website, with some authorities announcing a deadline of next week for applications.

In addition to support for self-employed workers the STA has also highlighted concerns to the Scottish and UK governments over the definition of ‘furloughed’ workers, with some guidance stating workers placed on furlough during the crisis should not be allowed to work and other sources contradicting that. The STA has pledged to push both administrations for clarity.