Chancellor Rishi Sunak has finally unveiled a financial support package for the self-employed.
The government will pay the 5 million self-employed contractors and freelances a taxable grant worth 80% f their average monthly profits taken over the past three years capped at a payment of £2,500 a month.
The scheme will start to fund the self-employed with income impacted by the coronavirus outbreak from June, when they will receive a grant covering the three months of March to May which goes straight not their bank account.
The grant is open to the self-employed with an income of up to £50,000 a year.
But payment is only for the self-employed who are up-to-date with their self-assessment tax returns.
Later-filers for 2018-19 who should have submitted a return by January 31 have four weeks to put their financial affairs in order.
HMRC to contact eligible workers
HM Revenue & Customs will contact qualifying taxpayers to invite them to complete an online application.
The self-employed with fewer than three years of accounts can still apply.
Sunak explained devising a fair scheme was difficult and warned the self-employed will may have to pay the same tax and national insurance contributions as employees once the coronavirus crisis has ended.
“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 statuses,” he said.
“If we all want to benefit equally from state support, we must all pay in equally in future.”
Flight nightmare for Brits trapped abroad
Finding a flight to get home to Britain is the least of worries for expats and travellers trapped overseas by the coronavirus outbreak.
Many cannot board rescue flights if they do not have proof of testing negative for the virus.
And if the flights home touch down in a third country on the way back to change planes, border guards are imposing 15 day quarantine rules before passengers are allowed to fly onwards.
Although the first flight from Peru has touched down, hundreds of Brits are still marooned in the South American country.
More than 2,500 are still waiting for flights to London from Australia and New Zealand, including 20 doctors and several frontline nurses.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has pledged to bring them home but Foreign Office and consular staff are struggling to make arrangements as travel and border restrictions in different countries sometimes change without warning.
Last week, Raab announced Brits abroad should return home as soon possible.
“We are working urgently with Peruvian authorities to deliver more flights in the coming days,” he said.