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Rishi Sunak became chancellor in February 2020 and has announced a series of measures to help businesses in the face of the coronavirus crisis.

Image credit gov.uk via Creative Commons licence.

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Sunak said the government will pay the self-employed a taxable grant of 80% of their average profits (from the last three years) up to £2500 a month which will be open for at least three months.

There were a number of caveats including applicants must be those with trading profits of no more than £50,000 a year and those already in self-employment with a tax return for 2019.

The scheme should be up and running from June and should cover 95% of those in self-employment.

Sunak said the UK is following a “step-by-step action plan” and added: "I know many self-employed people are deeply anxious and through no fault of their own risk losing their livelihoods.”

Sunak added that the announcement was the latest in the “economic fight against the coronavirus pandemic”.

There are more than 5 million self-employed in the UK - accounting for 15% of the employed population - and many in the art and antiques trade are in this category.

This is the latest in a series of announcements by the chancellor which has included the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme where HMRC will reimburse 80% of employees wages, up to £2500 per month, to safeguard salaried (PAYE) workers from being made redundant.

Business support also came in the form of business rates relief as reported in Antiques Trade Gazette last week. 

On March 20, all ‘non-essential’ businesses were ordered by the UK government to close, including auction houses and art galleries.

For more on the business support announcements visit the www.gov.uk website.