The world quickly spiralled into confusion and panic when the World Health Organisation (WHO) first declared the Coronavirus Disease as a global pandemic. More than 213 countries have been affected soon after its unwarranted invasion, the UK being one of the many to receive a crippling blow. With cases closing into 300,000 since the discovery of the virus in the UK, the lockdown remains enforced.
The UK lockdown began on the 23rd of March and was forecasted to last till the month of June. Two weeks into June and there’s still no sign of the lockdown being fully lifted soon. On the brighter side of things, shops, with a few exceptions (e.g. restaurants, salons, pubs, etc.), are expected to open on Monday, June 15th, as the country slowly eases to the “new normal.” However, whether this is a good move for the community currently or not remains to be seen.
According to Alok Sharma, by strictly enforcing the government’s five tests for lifting the lockdown, we will be able to transition to this new phase with ease.
While this development favours the interests of SMEs (Small to Medium-sized Enterprise) and retail businesses, where do self-employed individuals fit in all this?
Some self-employed individuals may be slowly getting back into action, especially those who can provide services remotely. However, there are those whose nature of business requires them to be in close, personal contact with clients. There are also self-employed professionals, like photographers, who cannot administer services due to the lack of social activity during the lockdown period. With that said, it is expected that it will take them a longer time to adjust to this “new normal.”
As part of their support grants, the UK government has planned to extend the support they provide to self-employed individuals, or the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). Those who qualify are expected to receive this second and final grant sometime in August. The amount of self-employed workers would be receiving is equivalent to 70% of their total monthly trading profits which will be averaged based on three months of profits. The grant is capped at £6,570 for each qualified applicant.
What If I Have Yet To Apply For SEISS?
It is also possible that you have not applied for the first grant yet. The good news is that you are still allowed to do so. You can continue to apply for the 1st grant, which is equivalent to 80% of your trading profits for the month, until July 13, 2020. Still, it would not matter if you have not previously applied to the previous grant. You can avail of the second grant regardless of whether you have claimed the first SEISS or not.
As for the requirements for application, the same rules apply. The self-employed individual must show proof that the negative effects of the Coronavirus directly impact their trading activities and that they have difficulty earning trading profits during (and not prior) to the lockdown period. I talk more about this in my weekly Podcast, where I discuss the latest news and updates. Be sure to hop on our next LIVE if you have any questions regarding this grant.
The UK government continues to do what it can to support the livelihood of small business owners and self-employed traders. With 2.3 billion claims amounting to £6.8 billion released to the self-employed covering the first grant, authorities hope to support more through the second and final Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.