Coronavirus: UK government unveils aid for self-employed

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Media captionLive: Chancellor Rishi Sunak unveils a package of support for self-employed workers facing financial difficulties

Self-employed workers will be able to apply for a grant of up to £2,500 a month to help them cope with the financial impact of coronavirus, the chancellor has announced.

The money will be paid in a single lump sum, but will not begin to arrive until the start of June at the earliest.

Rishi Sunak told the self-employed: “You have not been forgotten.”

Plans for 80% wage subsidies for staff kept on by employers were announced last week.

The chancellor spoke after the total number of people in the UK to die with Covid-19, the disease caused by coronavirus, reached 475.

The government had faced criticism for failing to provide support for self-employed and freelance workers in its earlier huge package of economic measures.

Mr Sunak said the steps taken so far were “already making a difference” but it was right to go further “in the economic fight against the coronavirus”.

Self-employed people will be able to apply for a grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits over the last three years, up to £2,500 a month.

Mr Sunak said the grants would be available to people across the UK for at least three months, and longer if necessary.

In all, 95% of people who earn most of their income as self-employed would be covered, the chancellor added.

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