Covid 19 virus

Covid-19 self-employed deal: our response

WGGB has responded to the announcement this evening (Thursday 26 March) on financial provisions for the self-employed during the Covid-19 crisis.

Talking at the Government’s daily press conference, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak outlined what he planned to do to help the UK’s 5-million self-employed workforce.

The deal provides a taxable grant of 80% of a person’s average profits over the past three years (or less if they haven’t worked for three years), will pay up to £2,500 per month and will be available for those with average profits of £50k per annum or less.

To be eligible the majority of a person’s income must have come from self-employment. The system will be up and running by the beginning of June at the latest, but may be earlier, and the Government estimates that 95% of the self-employed workforce will be eligible.

HMRC will be contacting those who are eligible and recipients will receive three months’ payments in June.

In response to questions raised from journalists about hardship faced by freelancers while waiting for these payments, and current delays to self-employed people accessing Universal Credit of £94 per week to which they are entitled, the Chancellor said that work is being done to ensure recipients can get advance payments almost immediately, or at least within days.

WGGB General Secretary Ellie Peers said:

“We really appreciate that the Chancellor has listened to us, and other unions and bodies representing the creative industries and self-employed workers in the UK.

“In recent weeks we have seen theatres go dark and film and TV productions close, leaving our freelance members anxious about their futures, and making ends meet. These measures will come as a relief and we look forward to working with the Government further to support our members and ensure writers’ rights remain firmly on the agenda during the Covid-19 crisis.

“We will also be monitoring the situation very closely in coming weeks and listening to our members to ensure that they are receiving the interim help they have been promised before this scheme is launched.”

Read full details of the Government’s package here.