Coronavirus update 26 March: Support for the self-employed anticipated

Good morning. The big story we’re expecting today is an announcement from the chancellor, outlining extra support for the self-employed.

As you will know, employers can already claim 80% wage subsidies (up to £2,500 monthly) for ‘furloughed’ workers – those who are on leave of absence.

To date the support on offer for the self-employed has been a lot less generous. In a nutshell, if you’re self-employed and in financial trouble, your main option is to claim universal credit. You can find more details about this – including the housing element of claims – in our Self-employed SOS post of yesterday.

While we don’t know what the chancellor’s new package will entail, it’s widely believed that it will offer comparable support to PAYE employees. We will be posting full details of the scheme as soon as we have them.

In other coronavirus-related news since yesterday:

  • MOT due dates for cars, motorcycles and light vans have been extended by six months. The extensions come into force from 30th March and are applied automatically. You do not need to do anything, but you are still legal required to keep your vehicle in a roadworthy condition. If your MOT is due before 30th March, you must get it tested if it is safe for you to do so – more guidance is available here.
  • Pubs and breweries are lobbying for permission to launch takeaway alcohol services. The move comes as off-licences are now designated as ‘essential’ Many breweries and some pubs are only licensed to sell alcohol on their own premises – temporary permission to sell off-premises would allow them to deliver drinks, or for customers to collect them.
  • The BBC has a good round-up of employment opportunities. While many companies have been laying off workers, others are having to cope with a huge spike in demand. These include home care companies, pharmacies, supermarkets, phone and broadband providers, food processing plants – and a range of other essential businesses. For more details, read the original article.
  • Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove has urged people to cancel plans to exchange house contracts or move house if at all possible. The property market has been badly hit by the pandemic, with removals companies and estate agents shedding jobs, plus mortgage providers limiting their lending.

Check back later after the chancellor’s announcement concerning support for the self-employed. Until then, keep well and – where possible – stay at home.

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About Ben Locker

Ben Locker is a copywriter who specialises in business-to-business marketing, writing about everything from software and accountancy to construction and power tools. He co-founded the Professional Copywriters’ Network, the UK’s association for commercial writers, and is named in Direct Marketing Association research as ‘one of the copywriters who copywriters rate’.

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