Martin Lewis urges self-employed to 'hold on' as government IS working on help for coronavirus income losses

MARTIN Lewis has urged millions of self-employed workers to “hold on” during the coronavirus epidemic, as he claimed help from the government IS coming soon.

The MoneySavingExpert founder addressed concerns from worried self-employed people on Good Morning Britain earlier today, March 25.

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It comes as ministers are said to be working "around the clock" to draw up an emergency package for the five million people classed as self-employed in the UK.

Currently, workers who are employed on a payroll system are getting up to 80 per cent of their wages paid for by the government if they can’t work during the coronavirus crisis.

Similar action has yet to be unveiled for self-employed people who’ve been forced to temporarily shut their business.

But speaking today, Martin claimed ministers are "working on this" and said it could mirror the help being given to employees – although the exact measure of help has yet to be confirmed by the government.


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He said: "They’re working on this, I know they are… I have a confirmation.

"The absolute number one financial priority at the moment of the government is trying to work through a structure for the self-employed that is something like a parody to what employees are getting."

He went on to say part of the hold-up is how the government is going to define which self-employed people need support during the coronavirus crisis.

Martin added: "There are some self-employed who have other work. There are some self-employed who are extremely wealthy.

"My main message to anyone out there who is self-employed: this is coming.

"Don’t make any panicked decisions until you hear what it is. Try to hold of."

What help has already been announced?

In the meantime, the following measures have been announced to help workers across the UK.

Universal Credit and other benefits

The government has told self-employed workers they may be able to claim Universal Credit if their business has temporarily closed.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has upped the Universal Credit standard allowance – the amount you're paid each month – by £1,000 a year.

This increase is set to come into force on April 6 and is on top of a planned increase linked to inflation.

The current Universal Credit standard allowance ranges between £251.77 and £498.89 depending on your age and circumstances.

You may be able to claim Universal Credit if:

  • you’re on a low income or out of work
  • you’re 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 to 17)
  • you’re under state pension age (or your partner is)
  • you and your partner have £16,000 or less in savings between you
  • you live in the UK

In addition, Mr Sunak is suspending the self-employed Universal Credit minimum income floor for everyone affected by coronavirus.

The Universal Credit minimum income floor applies to those who've been self-employed for more than a year.

It's used to work out how much Universal Credit you get on top of your earnings, and is based on what you're expected to earn rather than your actual wages in reality.

This will be suspended as of April 6.

Self-employed workers may also be able to claim contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

You need to have two to three years worth of National Insurance contributions to be eligible.

Deferred income tax and VAT payments

Workers also now have longer to pay their income tax, under new help revealed by ministers.

The government has pushed back payments due in July 2020 under self-assessment to January 2021.

VAT payments have also been delayed from now until June 30.

Loan, mortgage and credit card holiday

You may also be entitled to loan, mortgage and credit card payment holidays, as well as having interest or fees on debts frozen.

Contact your financial provider to see what it’s offering.

Check for charitable grants: Many charities offer non-repayable grants to help individuals on low incomes.

You can use Turn2Us’s grant finding tool to check if you’re eligible.

You'll need to enter your postcode and financial information so the charity can see what help is available in your area.

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