UK lockdown: What help is available for self-employed during second lockdown?

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The coronavirus pandemic has taken its toll on businesses in the UK. From March, England was under a full lockdown for many months. A second lockdown will now be in place from November 5 until December 2, placing England back under strict lockdown measures. Read on to find out what support is available for the self-employed during the second lockdown.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

The Government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) has recently been extended to cover November 2020 to April 2021.

The Government has recently announced the third SEISS grant has now been increased in light of the ongoing pandemic.

The third grant, which covers November to January, will be worth 80 percent of average monthly trading profits, capped at £7,500 in total for the three-month period.

Announcing the changes, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Extending furlough and increasing our support for the self-employed will protect millions of jobs and give people and businesses the certainty they need over what will be a difficult winter.”

Although SEISS will help provide financial security to millions whose businesses have been affected, not everyone is eligible for SEISS and there is additional support available.

Simon Warne, partner at Crowe UK, told “If lockdown measures remain throughout the winter, the Chancellor may come under renewed pressure to examine groups who have not benefited from Government support so far.

“These groups include those who are newly self-employed (claimants must have filed a tax return for 2018/19 to be eligible for SEISS), those who have other income of more than 50 percent of their total income, as well as those with average annual trading profits in excess of £50,000.

“It does seem strange that the last of these groups should be excluded from help, especially when there is no equivalent support system, aside from the furlough scheme.

“Such employees do, of course, receive a capped amount but are not excluded. Another notable group that has received no help is individuals who operate as contractors through personal services companies. This is unlikely to change anytime soon.”

Bounce Back Loan Scheme

The deadline to apply for the Government’s Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) has recently been extended in light of the lockdown announcement.

The scheme allows smaller businesses to access between £2,000 and up to 25 percent of their turnover, capped at £50,000.

People will now be able to apply for a loan under the scheme until January 31, 2021.

The Treasury has also announced businesses which borrowed less than the maximum £50,000, or 25 percent of their turnover, will be able to top up their Bounce Back Loans.

Check the Government website to find out what other loans you may be eligible for.

SEISS extension welcomed but Rishi Sunak urged to extend into March [REPORT]
SEISS increase: How has the SEISS scheme changed? How much do you get? [INSIGHT]
SEISS: Concern third grant will leave some Britons out in the cold [ANALYSIS]

Self Assessment deferral

If you were due to make a Self Assessment payment on account by July 31, 2020, you may have been able to defer your payment.

If you are registered in the UK for Self Assessment, and found it difficult to pay by July 31, 2020 due to the impact of coronavirus, you may be eligible to pay any time up until January 31, 2021.

The Government website states there will be “no interest or penalty as long as you pay in full by that date”.

Other financial support

Government support is available in the form of the New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or the New Style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

You may also be eligible for Universal Credit if you have less than £16,000 in savings, and you and your partner are under State Pension age.

If your weekly income is below £173.75, or £265.20 if you are in a couple, you may be eligible for Pension Credit.

If you have been told to self-isolate and meet the criteria of the payment, you may be able to access £500 in support from your local council through the Test and Trace Support Payment.

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