Self-employed support is an “important step” say Suffolk’s business leaders

Chancellor Rishi Sunak speaks during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (COV

Chancellor Rishi Sunak speaks during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (COVID-19). PA Photo. Picture date: Thursday March 26, 2020. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: PA Video/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Suffolk Chamber of Commerce has welcomed the chancellors new coronavirus support for the self-employed describing it as a key ‘win’.

The news that self-employed people will be able to claim 80% of their monthly earnings in a lifeline announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak was welcomed by the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce.

The amount will be based on the average profits from the last three years of accounts, where these are available. Mr Sunak did warn that the scheme would not be able to support those who had only just become self-employed.

This brings the support offered for 95% of those who earn the majority of their income through self-employment in line with what is being offered to employees throughout the coronavirus crisis.

MORE: Impact of coronavirus on businesses in Suffolk ‘universal’ new survey says

John Dugmore, chief executive, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said: “The self-employed income support scheme is an important step in helping this vital part of the national and the county’s business community and represents a key ‘win’ for Suffolk Chamber and the British Chambers of Commerce. We are also pleased to see that the level of evidence required will be kept to a minimum through the direct involvement of HMRC.”

Mr Sunak said that the difficulty in providing such a scheme meant that it would not be up and running until the beginning of June. Until then, he said that the self-employed would be able to claim Universal Credit.

Mr Dugmore raised concerns around the delay in the start of the scheme, and said the Chamber wanted it to start sooner: “However, we are worried that the self-employed won’t be able to apply for this support until early June and will be pushing for this date to be brought forward.”

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Earlier this week, a lack of government support for the self-employed was identified as one of the issues facing business in the county by Suffolk Chamber’s survey.

Nationally the reaction to the move was also positive. Dame Carolyn Fairbairn, director general of the CBI, said: “Many self-employed people across the UK will be hugely relieved tonight. These new measures will provide essential support to those facing significant uncertainty and loss of income. Given the complexity of the task, it’s understandable this will take time to deliver. Fast clarity on how and when money will reach their bank accounts will help individuals to plan.”

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