Self-employed to have 80% of average earnings paid for by the government

A financial package aimed at helping self-employed workers get through the coronavirus crisis has been announced by the Chancellor.

The government has been under increasing pressure to throw the sector a lifeline.

The new package means self-employed people will now be supported in a similar way to workers who are having their wages paid for by the government for 80% of their salary, or up to £2,500 a month.

Rishi Sunak said 95% of all self-employed workers will be covered by the scheme, which is expected to be "up and running" by the beginning of June.

He said that it is open to anyone with trading profits of up to £50,000 and will be only available to those who make the majority of their income from self-employment so only the “genuinely self-employed” benefit.

“To minimise fraud, only those who are already in self-employment who have a tax return for 2019 will be able to apply,” he said.

“95% of people who are majority self-employed will benefit from this scheme."

But he warned the government "will not be able to protect every single job or save every single business".

Coronavirus advice: