Rishi Sunak to increase support for self-employed during new lockdown

England will enter a new four-week lockdown on Thursday (October 5)

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced that he’s set to increase support for self-employed workers during the new lockdown.

England will enter a new four-week lockdown on Thursday (October 5), as announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the weekend.

After many expressed fears that freelance and self-employed workers and road crew are being “ignored” by the chancellor’s new Job Support Scheme, the UK chancellor has revealed that, alongside the furlough scheme being extended past its original deadline of October 31, he is set to announce a plan for more support to be put in place for self-employed workers.

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While self-employed workers could claim 80% of their monthly earnings earlier on during the 2020 lockdown, this figure dropped to around 40% as per the new Job Support Scheme.

Boris Johnson
Prime Minister Boris Johnson. CREDIT: Leon Neal/Getty Images

Sunak said (via the Daily Mail): “Over the past eight months of this crisis we have helped millions of people to continue to provide for their families. But now – along with many other countries around the world – we face a tough winter ahead.

“I have always said that we will do whatever it takes as the situation evolves. Now, as restrictions get tougher, we are taking steps to provide further financial support to protect jobs and businesses. These changes will provide a vital safety net for people across the UK.”

Asked whether the current 40% for the self-employed would rise under the new plan, Sunak added: “Directionally of travel, the 40 per cent will go up to reflect the fact that at least one of those months of support will be at a higher level for those who are in employment.”

Speaking on The Andrew Marr Show, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove also hinted that a new package was coming, saying: “The announcement about furlough that was made yesterday was about the extension of a scheme, that would have expired last night, throughout the rest of this month.

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“And the chancellor and his team are looking at every aspect of economic support and more will be said in the days ahead about how we provide it.”

Boris Johnson announced England’s new nationwide lockdown on Saturday (October 31) after it was confirmed that the UK has passed one million COVID-19 cases.

Under the new rules, non-essential shops and hospitality businesses will have to close for a month, but unlike the restriction in the spring, schools, colleges and universities will remain open. Takeaways will be allowed to stay open as pubs, bars and restaurants must close for four weeks.

The lockdown will come into force on Thursday (November 5) and last until December 2. The country will then revert back to the three-tier system imposed earlier this month.

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