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Wednesday, Oct 21, 2020

UK govt launches second wave of Covid-19 self-employed support grant amid widespread confusion over who can get it

UK govt launches second wave of Covid-19 self-employed support grant amid widespread confusion over who can get it

The UK government has launched the second tranche of its Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), which is designed to help those impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Starting Monday, August 17, HM Revenue and Customs will accept applications from millions of self-employed who could each be eligible for up to £6,570 ($8,560) in financial assistance.

Some 2.7 million people have benefitted so far from the initial phase of the scheme, receiving a total of £7.8 billion in assistance since July 14, in one of the UK government's latest initiatives to stimulate the economy amid the unprecedented global pandemic.

Self-employed people with trading profits of no more than £50,000 constituting at least half of their total income are eligible for the grant, which will cover up to 70 percent of their average monthly trading profits, according to a government press release.

“It means that people’s livelihoods across the country will remain protected as we continue our economic recovery – helping them get back on their feet as we return to normal,” Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said.

The scheme will run in parallel to a variety of other initiatives including, but not limited to, so-called Bounce Back loans, income tax deferrals, rental support and mortgage holidays.

As some media analysts pointed out, the grants are not tied to a specific period of time nor do they cover income over a set timeframe, so staggered reopening of businesses and industries after the lockdown can and does preclude certain sectors from gaining the latest tranche of financial support.

Many took to Twitter to complain about lack of clarity over eligibility for the grant.



Meanwhile, the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) claims that up to three million UK-based workers will still be relying on the separate Jobs Retention Scheme which is due to end on October 31.

The scheme has so far helped support almost 10 million jobs by paying out 80 percent of wages but there are now fears that were it to end as planned in October, it would plunge the UK labor market into even worse economic peril, by eliminating up to two million jobs.



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