Self-employed help: What grants and support are available?

WORKERS breathed a sigh of relief earlier this week when Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced new measures to help people with their finances as part of the Winter Economic Plan.

Mr Sunak told the Commons that he is extending the self-employed grant scheme until next year.

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The deadline to apply for the second grant was originally 19 October, 2020.

That's still going ahead as planned, however there is now a new grant too.

The new self-employed grant will cover 20% of average monthly profits, up to a total of £1,875, spanning from November this year to January next year.

An additional second grant will also be available for self-employed workers to cover February 2021 to the end of April 2021.

The government hasn't said how much this second grant will cover.

While thousands of Brits rejoiced at the news, others have said the scheme won’t benefit them at all.

For people who are eligible for the grant, we’ve outlined how to apply for it here.

For self-employed people who are worried about money, here is some other financial advice that could help you.

What measures has the government put in place?

As not everyone can apply for the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme, the government implemented other ways to help workers during the outbreak.

They include the following:

Income-tax deferrals: Self-assessment income tax payments, that were due in July, were originally deferred to the end of January next year. 

These payments have now been deferred even further, meaning self employed people won't need to pay their July 2020 tax bill until January 2022.

Mr Sunak also said that those with a tax bill this coming January can also defer, with their payments not due until January 2022.

If you owe £30,000 or less then you might be able to set up a Time to Pay Arrangement online. This lets you pay your Self Assessment tax bill in instalments.

For any help and advice, call the self assessment payment helpline on 0300 200 3822.

Coronavirus business interruption loan scheme: SMEs, who have an annual turnover of £45million, can get loans and overdrafts of up to £5million for up to six years and the government will guarantee up to 80 per cent of these.

You can apply here.

Grants of up to £10,000: Small firms can apply for the Small Business Grant Fund, which gives people up to £10,000 to help with ongoing business costs.

You qualify if your business is based in England, occupies property and was eligible for small business rate relief (including tapered relief) or rural rate relief on March 11 this year.

You contact your local council to find out more about how to receive the grant.

VAT payments: VAT bills have been deferred, so you can make smaller payments up to the end of March 2022, interest free.

You will need to opt-in to the scheme, and for those who do, this means that your VAT liabilities due between 20 March and 30 June 2020 do not need to be paid in full until the end of March 2022.

Those that can pay their VAT bill don't have to until 31 March 2021.

Tax bill help: SMEs that cannot afford their tax bills can ask HMRC for a “time to pay” arrangement so any debt collection is suspended.

Business rates holiday: A 12-month business rates holiday has been introduced for many businesses.

What else is there?

Universal Credit: If you're unable to work or earn an income because of local lockdown restrictions you may be able to apply for Universal Credit.

The benefit is the government's welfare system, which replaced six benefits with one monthly payment.

It was already in place before the coronavirus outbreak, but Mr Sunak boosted the standard allowance – the amount that everyone is entitled to if they're accepted onto Universal Credit – by £20 in April to help people.

Our welfare expert has outlined how much you could get if you end up applying for it.

Turn2Us tool: Debt advice charity, Turn2Us, has created a search bar tool to help you find out what other grants that you could get.

It varies depending on your personal circumstances and where you live, so fill in your details to find out how much you can get.

Taking payment holidays: If none of the schemes above work for you, you could also consider taking a payment holiday.

This can be applied to your mortgage, credit and debit card or even some utility bills.

You'll still have to pay back what you owe after the break and you may end up paying back more in the long term because you're still being charged interest during a payment break.

Make sure you consider all the different options before applying for a payment holiday as it may take you longer to pay any debts owed.

We've rounded up all the different ways you can get help and support from lenders here.

What grants can I get if I’m disabled?

An Access to Work scheme has been created, which is designed to help workers aged 16 and above in England, Scotland, and Wales who are disabled or have a physical or mental health condition.

It's an unlimited fund that pays out up to £60,000 per person per year – and as this is a grant it means you don't have to pay the money back.

You must earn at least the national minimum wage to apply if you're employed, or make at least £6,136 a year – the lower earnings limit – if you're self-employed.

There’s no maximum earnings cap, you might not get a grant if you already get certain benefits – we’ve outlined what those are here.

The Chancellor also revealed new ways to help furloughed workers once the scheme ends in October.

He unveiled a wage top-up scheme, named the Jobs Support Scheme paying a third of wages through winter.

Meanwhile, the slash in VAT by Mr Sunak means that Brits can enjoy cheaper holidays and meals out until March 31.

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