UK doubles lockdown aid for self-employed

David Milliken
·1-min read

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says self-employed workers will receive government support equivalent to 80 per cent of their pre-crisis profits during November's four-week lockdown in England, up from 40 per cent previously.

England will enter a second lockdown on Thursday, which will close restaurants, pubs and non-essential shops until at least December 2, although unlike the first lockdown in late March and April, schools will stay open for all pupils.

Employees who are put on furlough will receive 80 per cent of their wages, up from 67 per cent under more recent plans to scale back support, and on Monday Johnson said more generous support would be available for the self-employed too.

"For November, we will double our support from 40 to 80 per cent of trading profits," Johnson told parliament.

Finance minister Rishi Sunak said the step meant the government would be providing 4.5 billion pounds ($A8.3 billion) of support for the self-employed between November and January, on top of 13.7 billion pounds already spent.

The UK's budget deficit this financial year is forecast to swell to its highest since World War II at around 20 per cent of GDP or 400 billion pounds.

The aid to the self-employed is provided in three-month grants, so support for the November to January period will be equivalent to 55 per cent of pre-crisis profits, with a maximum grant of 5160 pounds per self-employed worker.

Businesses will continue to be able to apply to banks for government-backed support loans until January 31 compared with a previous November 30 deadline for some of the programs.