Coronavirus: Self-employed support scheme receives two million claims

A government scheme to support self-employed workers during the pandemic has received more than two million claims, totalling £6bn, the chancellor Rishi Sunak has told MPs.

The scheme, launched last week, provides one-off grants of up to £7,500 for those whose livelihoods have been adversely affected by the outbreak.

It was announced after a clamour for targeted help for traders such as plumbers, electricians, hairdressers and freelancers who were not covered by the UK’s Job Retention Scheme for temporarily laid-off workers.



Jim Harra HMRC



HMRC gives update on grants for self-employed

Delivering an update to parliament on the self-employed scheme on Monday, Mr Sunak said: “Those people will have the money in their bank accounts within six working days of their claim.”

Mr Sunak also told MPs that the original JRS furloughing initiative – which pays 80% of wages of those who are temporarily laid off by their employers – now covered eight million workers.



Self employed couple



‘Going back to work puts my family at risk’

That was up on 7.5 million last week, when the chancellor said the furlough scheme was costing around £8bn a month.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has estimated that the self-employed scheme will cost £10.5bn in the current financial year.

For the furloughing scheme, the fiscal watchdog has so far pencilled in a £50bn net cost to the taxpayer.

Overall, the OBR currently expects the government’s response to the coronavirus to the coronavirus crisis to cost taxpayers £123bn, roughly comparable to the annual budget for NHS England.

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