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  • endemic with new support for the self employed.

  • Our step by step action plan is aiming to slow the spread of Corona virus so fewer people need hospital treatment at any one time.

  • Protecting the N H s is ability to cope at every point.

  • We have followed expert advice to be controlled in our actions, taking the right measures at the right time.

  • We are taking unprecedented action to increase N HS capacity by increasing the number of beds, key staff and lifesaving equipment on the front line to give people the care they need.

  • That is why it is absolutely critical that people follow our instructions to stay at home so that we can protect the N hs and save lives.

  • Our action plan to beat this pandemic is the right thing to do.

  • But we know that people are worrying about their jobs and their incomes.

  • Working closely with businesses and trade unions, we have put together a coherent, coordinated and comprehensive economic plan, a plan which is already starting to make a difference.

  • Big employers like Bru Dog, Timpson Tze and Prepped have already said that our Corona virus jobs retention scheme means they will protect thousands of jobs on we're Publishing this evening detailed guidance on how the scheme will operate so that other businesses can protect jobs too.

  • Small businesses are already benefiting from the Corona virus business interruption loans of up to £5 million which interest free for 12 months with 30,000 enquiries in just four days.

  • Local authorities are already in forming over 700,000 retail, hospitality and leisure businesses that they will pay no business rates this year.

  • And the new hardship grand scheme providing cash grants of up to £25,000 for the smallest businesses is now up and running.

  • So with any business is struggling and worrying, they may need to lose staff.

  • I would urge you to log on to business support dot gov dot UK and look very carefully at what support is available before deciding to lay people off.

  • I'm proud of what we've done so far, but I know that many self employed people are deeply anxious about the support available for them.

  • Musicians and sound engineers, plumbers and electricians, taxi drivers and driving instructors, hairdressers and child minders and many others through no fault of their own risk losing their livelihoods to you.

  • I say this.

  • You have not been forgotten.

  • We will not let you behind.

  • We all stand together.

  • So to support those who work for themselves.

  • Today I'm announcing a new self employed income support scheme.

  • The government will pay self employed people who have been adversely affected by the Corona virus a taxable grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits over the last three years up to £2500 a month.

  • This scheme will be open to people across the UK for at least three months and I will extend it for longer.

  • If necessary.

  • You'll be able to claim these grants and continue to do business.

  • And we're covering the same amount of income for a self employed person as we are for furloughed employees who also receive a grand worth 80% that's unlike almost any other country and makes our scheme one of the most generous in the world.

  • Providing such unprecedented support for self employed people has been difficult to do in practice.

  • On the self employed are a diverse population with some people earning significant profits.

  • So I've taken steps to make this scheme deliverable and fair to make sure that the scheme provides targeted support for those most in need.

  • It will be open to anyone with trading profits of up to £50,000 to make sure only the genuinely self employed benefit.

  • It will be available to people who make the majority of their income from self employment and to minimize fraud.

  • Only those who are already in self employment, who have a tax return for 2019 will be able to apply.

  • 95% of people who are majority self employed will benefit from this scheme.

  • HMRC are working on this urgently and expect people to be able to access the scheme no later than the beginning of June.

  • If you're eligible, HMRC will contact you directly, ask you to fill out a simple online form, then pay the grant straight into your bank account and to make sure no one who needs it misses out on support.

  • We have decided to allow anyone who missed the filing deadline in January 4 weeks from today to submit their tax return.

  • But I know many self employed people are struggling right now, so we've made sure that support is available.

  • Self employed people can access the business interruption loans.

  • Self assessment income tax payments that were due in July could be deferred to the end of January next year, and we've also changed the welfare system so that self employed people can now access universal credit in full.

  • A self employed person with a non working partner and two Children living in the social rented sector can receive welfare support of up to £1800 a month.

  • The scheme I've announced today is fair.

  • It is targeted at those who need it the most and crucially, it is deliverable and it provides an unprecedented level of support for self employed people.

  • As we've developed the scheme, I'm grateful for the conversations I've had with the Federation of Small Businesses, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed, and a range of trade unions, including the Trades Union Congress.

  • But I must be honest and point out that in devising this scheme in response to many calls for support, it is now much harder to justify the inconsistent contributions between people of different employment.

  • Status is if we all want to benefit equally from state support, we must all pay in equally in future.

  • These last 10 days have shaken our country and economy as never before.

  • In the last two weeks, we have put aside ideology and orthodoxy to mobilize the full power and resource is of the British state.

  • We have done so in the pursuit of a single goal.

  • To protect people's health and economic security by supporting public service is like the air in a chess backing businesses and protecting people's jobs and incomes.

  • What we have done will, I believe, stand as one of the most significant economic interventions at any point in the history of the British state on by any government anywhere in the world.

  • We have pledged that whatever the resources, the n hs needs it.

  • Who got promise to pay 80% of the wages of furloughed workers for three months up to £2500 differed more than £30 billion of tax payments until the end of the year, agreed nearly 17,000 time to pay arrangements for businesses and individuals.

  • Made available £333 billion of loans and guarantees, introduced cash grants of up to £25,000 for small business properties covered the cost of statutory sick pay for small and medium sized businesses for up to two weeks per employee.

  • Lifted the incomes of over four million households with a nearly £7 billion boost to our welfare system.

  • Agreed a three month mortgage holiday with lenders and nearly a £1,000,000,000 more support for renters through the local housing allowance.

  • And today we've announced one of the most generous self employed support schemes anywhere in the world.

  • Despite these extraordinary steps, there will be challenging times ahead.

  • We will not be able to protect every single job or save every single business.

  • But I am confident that the measures we have put in place will support millions of families, businesses and self employed people.

  • To get through this, get through it together and emerge on the other side both stronger and more united.

  • Thank you.

  • I think if we can take some questions from the media turning first too.

  • Laura Kuhns Berg from the BBC Thank you very much, Chancellor.

  • You said you hoped to cover nearly all of the self employed.

  • But what about people who this skin does not cover?

  • And when do you hope the money will start coming through.

  • And if I may, we've been really inundated with worries from people who feel they're not safe at work.

  • We had a message from someone saying their employer was forcing people.

  • They said.

  • Everyone knows it's wrong that we're being emotionally blackmailed by bosses, saying If we don't come to work, people will lose their jobs as the chancellor, Would you say to employers who are float, floating the rules like that and to the deputy CM Oh, if I may?

  • When do you now expect the peak of the virus to be from the most up to date information you have, Please, Thanks, Laura, to your first question at this scheme.

  • If you look at people who make the majority of their earnings from self employment, this scheme will cover 95% of them off the people that it does not cover that last 5%.

  • Those above the income threshold that we set their average incomes are about £200,000.

  • So we think what we have done is reasonable, proportionate and fair and, as I said, covers 95% of all self employed people who make the majority of their earnings from self employment.

  • S o I think it is.

  • It is a very generous scheme in that regard and treats them with the same parity that we did for employed in terms of the timing.

  • Our expectation is that this will be up and running by the beginning of June.

  • We will look to try and do it faster than that.

  • But I don't want to promise something that we can't deliver today.

  • As I've said before, this is operationally complicated.

  • We're already designing brand new schemes to cover the 90% of the population that are employed here.

  • We need to design another scheme on top of that, and we also want to give now four weeks for people who haven't filed their tax return yet from January on opportunity to do so to benefit from this scheme.

  • And I think that was a trade off that was worth making, giving people that little bit of extra time now those late filers.

  • But that does have a little bit of a knock on impact about when the scheme could be fully up and running on.

  • I'll turn toe to Jenny to answer your second question around workplace guidance on DDE and the virus timing.

  • So I think on the workplace guidance, it's really important that employers, most of whom have been extraordinarily supportive, I think of their employees stick to the normal principles of workplace health.

  • We've made it very clear.

  • I think, what those principles are of people can work from home.

  • They should be able to if they can't, they're maybe adaptations that they can do in the workplace on.

  • We've also made it clear what sorts of distances and practical measures can be made to ensure people are safe.

  • So in some ways, although we're being more specific about the public health requirements in the middle of this outbreak, actually the same principles about workplace safety apply on Dino.

  • The health and Safety executive were reminding workplaces off that today, earlier on the issue off the peak in the epidemic.

  • I'm sure you will not be surprised to know that I am not going to predict too precise timing for that.

  • And the reason for that is we are only just starting to see a bite, if you like.

  • In the interventions and social distancing that have been put into place, it would be far too early to predict that.

  • I think we are starting to see some helpful movement.

  • Let's put it that way.

  • And what we'll be looking for is a change in the slope rather than being a very steep curve.

  • Atwood's We will be looking for it to be a gentle slope, but we must not take off it off the pedal.

  • People have been really cooperative, and I think in the last few days that the public have really understood that this is something very serious and their actions, wherever they are, will save lives.

  • So too early to say yet.

  • But I think starting to move in the right direction thank you have to return next to Beth Rigby from Sky.

  • Thank you, Chancellor.

  • Question for you on your scheme.

  • A big scheme, but you can't get the money until June.

  • You're telling people that they can apply the universal credit, but there's a five week wait for the first payment.

  • Can you guarantee to people watch in this you are in immediate a desperate need that if they apply for universal credit that they will get an advanced payment in 10 days or less to tide them over on a question if I made the deputy CM.

  • Oh, how many N.

  • H.

  • S staff are currently unable to work because they are unwell or self isolate, and it's obviously an area of huge concern for everyone.

  • Thank you, Beth, to your question about people's immediate cash.

  • No needs to which, of course, were enormously sympathetic to We've done a couple of things with regard to universal credit first, making it just more accessible, particularly for those who are self employed on more generous in that regard overall, in terms of the measures I've already announced.

  • But in terms of speed, it is already the case on the department for Work and pensions are highly focused on this, that people can get an advance payment it almost immediately after the claim, so they do not have to wait for the five weeks in advance.

  • Payment can be given almost immediately, certainly within days.

  • That's very much what they are already doing.

  • On top of that, we have deployed extra resources into local authorities, particularly to help those who are most vulnerable with things like their council tax bill, which for many families is of a very large bill that they face every month as the local authorities.

  • Now we're in receipt of the extra money we've given them on bacon work in their own communities toe.

  • Identify those most vulnerable families that you talked about and ensure they get a little bit of extra help toe help tide through the difficult few weeks and months ahead s so I don't have the precise figure with me this afternoon in relation to energy is starting.

  • But I'm sure my own interest colleagues would do I think the important thing is Thio do recognize that there are a significant number of staff who are absolutely doing the right thing as the rest of the public are in taking themselves out of the workforce.

  • If they are symptomatic, I'm maintaining the safety for the rest of the public, but particularly the vulnerable patients.

  • And I think we have to recognize and support that the two things we have been doing to try and improve that as we go forward, that is the right thing to do.

  • But we can help everybody.

  • I think number one to be clear on what the workplace guidance is on.

  • There is some very helpful guidance through the N hs, but for particularly for people with in the vulnerable group, if you like, with underlying conditions.

  • I think some people have interpreted that if they're healthy and well but have an underlying condition as perhaps needing to stay right out of the workforce.

  • But for some of those people, it will be appropriate for them to work.

  • But on an individual discussion with the workplace on then, I think the other issue, obviously, is.

  • I know you'll be where we are trying to push forward on our testing program.

  • But right at the top of that list are the health care workers and our care workers more generally on different responders, for example, in police under the first line response systems.

  • And that's because we recognize that knowing whether people have had the disease or not brings people back into the workplace now.

  • But it also means we know what our resilience is going forward as we move into the depths ready of the epidemic.

  • So it's It's for all of us to do that, and that's what we're trying to do.

  • Thank you.

  • I can turn next to a Robert Peston for my TV.

  • Our ship.

  • Hello.

  • Afternoon, Robert.

  • Hello.

  • So my connection doesn't seem to have a stable, so I'll get it.

  • I'll give it a go.

  • So what about the many people who have only recently entered the workforce?

  • Might not have three years of accounts and not even one year of accounts?

  • How can they get help?

  • Secondly, how long do you expect this scheme to run for?

  • Do you have an estimated cost for the per month of the scheme?

  • On Finally, Did I hear you right that when we're through this, you intend to equalize tax and national insurance between employment and self employment, essentially as a sort of form of natural justice since their well being bailed out.

  • What?

  • All of us are being bailed out on the same basis.

  • And then finally for the deputy cm.

  • Oh, Chris, What he said yesterday, the big problem in terms of ramping up testing is a world shortage of the bits on the kits.

  • Why didn't we order the kits weeks ago when this first emerged as a problem?

  • Why did we wait till everybody else had ordered kids?

  • Robert, what was your first question exactly?

  • Cut out for a second Oh, so so the first question is significant.

  • Numbers of people have only entered the cell phone element workforce recently, and they have accounts, certainly won't have three year accounts.

  • They won't even have one year of accounts.

  • How are you gonna help there?

  • So what we will do is for those that don't have three years, we will look at whatever they do have, whether it's 12 or three.

  • But seeing as we're looking at trading profits apart, shit profits.

  • Obviously those can be volatile year to year.

  • So where people do have more than one year, we will look to average out over the years.

  • That was something that many people called for because it seemed the sensible thing to do to smooth out that volatility.

  • If people only have one year, we will be forced to only look at the one year for people who we don't know anything about that there is really nothing we can do.

  • And that's one of the complicated things we've been wrestling with.

  • We are.

  • I think most people accept that we have to use the database of people we know about and that have filed tax returns.

  • That's the population that we have that I talked to those that file tax returns in January 31st of this year A ll the late filers which will give four weeks to For those who are very recently self employed we do, we cannot operate a scheme like this.

  • There is just too much complexity, both operationally and fraud risk with that.

  • So we would have to say to those people, Please look at the extra support we've put into the welfare system to help you at this time.

  • But as I said, this covers the vast, vast majority off people in terms of the time frame for the scheme.

  • What we've said is analogous to the employed scheme.

  • We would do this for three months.

  • So obviously, if we are able to make payments to people at the beginning of June, they would receive three months payments at that one time backdated to march, completely comparable to the employed scheme on.

  • We're going to your question on tax.

  • I think the broader point I would make is rather than be too specific right now about future tax policy is just an observation that there is currently an inconsistency in contributions between self employed, unemployed and obviously the actions taken today, which is very significant tens of billions of pounds of support for those who are self employed, treating them the same way as those who are employed.

  • It does just throw into like that question of inconsistency on whether that is fair to everybody going forward, especially especially as we look when we get through this.

  • And we're all chipping in together to right the ship afterwards, making sure that everyone is doing that, but as well.

  • And I think that's a very fair and reasonable observation to make at this time.

  • I'll hand over to Jenny, thank you, have it in relation to testing.

  • So I think with all of these things, where they be testing or P P, we have ordered and we have planned ahead.

  • But I think what the public perhaps will recognize is that this is a brand new event.

  • It's a pandemic on every single country is ordering.

  • At the same time, many of the re agents and the items that he used are coming from some single suppose, but many from international suppliers, many of whom have actually been affected themselves by the pandemic.

  • So I think this is not an issue of a lack of forethought and planning.

  • It is an unprecedented event on, I think, if you are, the points which are worth while thinking about it is a brand new virus.

  • So even to understand how you might test it, you need to have the virus and understand a little bit about it before you can start on.

  • There is also a point which is really important whilst we're dealing with a Corona virus.

  • So colleagues in public kills England, for example, on a day to day basis, still need to manage all the other individual infections which are in the country, and some of those will be of higher significance of higher risk for individual people.

  • So it'd be wrong for us to be moving, for example, stock from our daily work into this.

  • I mean on a final point.

  • And I think chief medical officer made the point yesterday.

  • The evaluation of this is absolutely critical.

  • So we do have evaluations running now, and I recognize we all want to see these testing programs very active.

  • But it is vitally important that when we have a test, we know it does what we wanted to do.

  • Not that we have incorrect information.

  • Thank you.