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Parliament mulls statutory self-employed pay

24th March 2020

The Government could be set to extend urgent financial aid to the UK's five million self-employed workers in the coming days.

Currently, sole traders can access £94.25 a week in universal credit benefits and defer their payments on account, due on 31 July, until 31 January 2021.

As a result, Parliament is discussing an extension to the coronavirus bill, which may include the introduction of statutory self-employed pay.

If approved, HMRC would subsidise whichever is the lower of £2,917 a month or 80% of a sole trader's wages using an average from the last three tax years.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said:

"There are millions of people who are self-employed whose incomes may not have been impacted and, indeed, might be increasing.

"The ability of the Government to distinguish between those people, based on tax returns that are over a year-and-a-half out of date, poses some very significant challenges."

Should it get the green light, statutory self-employed pay would be similar to the coronavirus job retention scheme announced last week.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed the emergency measure to pay the wages of employees who are unable to work due to the pandemic.

For at least the next three months, all employers can obtain grants from HMRC to cover up to 80% of wages for retained workers, up to £2,500 a month.