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What help can the self-employed get from the government during the coronavirus pandemic?

An update from Chancellor Rishi Sunak is due on Thursday

rishi sunak and boris johnson
Aisha Nozari
Aisha NozariOnline Writer
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In the UK, there are approximately 4.8 million people that are self-employed, which makes up roughly 15 per cent of Britain's labour force. During the current coronavirus pandemic, many self-employed people – who do not receive some of the benefits of full time, in-house employment such as statutory sick pay – have lost work. The Government has implemented certain measures during the outbreak to help, such as being able to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) from day one instead of day eight if you are unwell. This amounts to £73.10 or £57.90 for those under the age of 25.

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The Treasury has also said that they could switch to increased Universal Credit allowances of £94 a week, and couples are entitled to claim more. Claims for Universal Credit and ESA can be made here and here.

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Chancellor of the Exchequer © Photo: Getty Images

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will announce more measures on Thursday 

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What's more, it has been announced that freelance workers will have more time to pay their tax bill, as there will be a delay to the next round of self-assessment tax payments.  Anyone due to pay a second instalment by 31 July will not have to do so until January 2021.

On Thursday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to announce more emergency measures to offer further financial security to self-employed Britains and to help prevent freelancers from losing their livelihoods. As for the delay in delivering clear guidelines on the matter, the Chancellor said it was due to "the extra complexity involved in working out how to create a fair system for the self-employed".

On the matter, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said: "The complexity of their working arrangements has meant it has been harder to come up with the right tailored programme of support."

He continued that he wanted to ensure that the self-employed were granted similar levels of protection to workers in full-time employment, saying that he hoped to achieve a "parity of support".

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