Financial Scheme information
Updated at 4pm on 1 June 2020
Support for the self-employed affected by Coronavirus is being reviewed daily and updated on a regular basis. Below is a list of the current information available along with links to more details on each scheme and how to apply for it.
This is an unprecedented time for all self-employed businesses across Somerset. To mitigate the financial hardships caused by Coronavirus (Covid 19), the government have created tailored financial support packages. Details of these can be found below. Please click on the links to find more details of each scheme
Alternatively, the government has now launched a Business Coronavirus Support Finder to quickly help businesses determine what financial support is available for themselves or their business.
Self-employment Income Support Scheme
For self-employed individuals (including partnerships) whose income has been negatively impacted by Coronavirus (Covid-19). The scheme will provide a grant worth 80% of profits up to a cap of £2,500 per month. So the maximum payment will be £7,500, intended to cover March, April and May. Payments will be made into the accounts of eligible people six days after applying. Those able to make a claim have already been contacted by HMRC and can use a unique reference to make their claim. You can find more details here
Those who are recently self-employed and do not have a full year of accounts will not receive any help under this scheme and should apply for Universal Credit and the other financial assistance listed below.
Those who pay themselves a salary and dividends through their own company are not covered by the scheme but will have 80% of their salary covered by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme if operating through PAYE.
The scheme has now been extended. A second and final grant will be available when the scheme opens again in August 2020. If you’re eligible and want to claim the first grant you must make your claim on or before 13 July 2020.
If you are affected by Coronavirus you can claim Universal Credit, providing you meet the usual eligibility criteria. From 6 April the requirements of the Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed. This change will last for the duration of the outbreak. New claimants will not need to attend the Job Centre to demonstrate gainful self-employment. Please apply online on the Universal Credit website as phone lines are currently incredibly busy.
Support for Rent Costs
Support for rental costs will be paid through Universal Credit. From April Local Housing Allowance rates will increase to the 30th percentile of market rents. This applies to all private renters who are new or existing Universal Credit housing element claimants and to existing Housing Benefit claimants.
Council Tax Support
If you’ve made a claim for Universal Credit and told the DWP that you have a Council Tax liability, they will send your information direct to your district council. This will be processed once they receive confirmation of your Universal Credit award directly from DWP.
If you have not claimed Universal Credit and need help paying Council Tax, contact your district council to claim Council Tax Support. And if you are still struggling to pay after your local district council has awarded this, apply to your district council for further help.
This fund provides all district council customers of working age, who qualify for Council Tax Support during the 2020/21 financial year, to receive an additional reduction of up to £150 for the year. If you have less than £150 to pay on your Council Tax bill after any other discounts and Council Tax Support has been applied, then a hardship fund award will reduce your bill to zero. If the balance to pay is more than £150, a hardship fund award of £150 will be credited to your Council Tax account. You do NOT need to claim this reduction.
Income Tax Deferral
Income Tax payments due in July 2020 under the Self-Assessment system will be deferred to January 2021. You can find out more here
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
People who are self-employed could be entitled to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. This will temporarily replace the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG); becoming available over the coming days. Find out more on the HM Government Business Support – Business Interruption Loan Scheme page.
The government are offering all businesses which are Valued Added Tax (VAT) registered the option to defer payments for 3 months. You can find out more here: HM Government Business Support – VAT Referral
Time to Pay
All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities. You can find out more here.
Other Finance Options
Several private lenders are also making funds available to the self-employed who have been impacted by COVID-19, including £2 billion from Lloyds Banking Group and £5 billion from NatWest. A range of finance can also be accessed through the government-owned British Business Bank.
Information and Assistance
Free information, support and advice for those needing help during Coronavirus can be obtained from:
Heart of the South West Growth Hub
You can also find free support, advice and information on sources of finance and help with homeworking through your local Heart of the South West Growth Hub.
GOV.UK Business Support
Get coronavirus (COVID-19) support for your business or if you’re self-employed, and find out how to keep your business and your employees safe. GOV.UK Business Support
HMRC Covid Helpline
HMRC have additional helplines, including one set up to support businesses concerned about not being able to pay their tax due to coronavirus on 0800 0159 559. You can find more details about contacting HMRC online.
The charity Mind provide advice on how to support your mental wellbeing during this difficult period. The Mind website includes practical advice on coping with staying at home and updates on how the new coronavirus laws could affect your rights. There is also useful information for any young person who is currently struggling.
Contact the debt charity Step Change to get expert debt advice and fee-free debt management to help you tackle your debts.
You can find out more on their website or phone 0800 138 1111