Coronavirus: Boris Johnson announces fresh help for self-employed during second lockdown | Politics News

Coronavirus: Boris Johnson announces fresh help for self-employed during second lockdown | Politics News

Self-employed workers will be able to claim government support worth 80% of trading profits as England prepares to enter a new lockdown, Boris Johnson has announced.

Ahead of the new national measures coming into force on Thursday, the prime minister used a House of Commons statement to warn of an “existential threat” to the NHS due to the “remorseless advance” of the second wave of coronavirus infections.

“It’s now clear we must do more together,” he told MPs.

From Thursday, pubs, bars, restaurants and non-essential shops will have to close in England.

And people will be told to stay at home, apart from when attending school, college, university, work or go food shopping.

In order to reflect the extension of the furlough scheme for employed workers through November, Mr Johnson announced support for the self-employed will also be boosted ahead of the new month-long lockdown.

Under the latest instalment of the UK-wide Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), self-employed workers will receive 80% of their average trading profits for November.

The grants will also be paid faster than previously planned, with the claims window being brought forward from 14 December to 30 November.

In a Twitter post soon after the prime minister’s announcement, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “We’re increasing the support to the self-employed from 40% of trading profits to 80% for November.

“SEISS is calculated over 3 months so this increases the total grant from 40% to 55% of trading profits for November to January and the max grant increases to £5,160.”

The government is also acting to allow more businesses to benefit from government loan schemes by extending the deadlines for applications.

The prime minister has faced backlash from within his own party over the decision to announce a new England-wide lockdown.

Some senior Tory backbenchers have declared they will vote against the lockdown in a House of Commons vote on Wednesday ahead of the lockdown’s proposed start date of Thursday.

Sir Charles Walker told Sky News that 15 Conservative MPs would rebel against the government in the vote.

Meanwhile, Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has suggested it was a “mistake” for Mr Johnson to have previously rejected calls for an earlier national lockdown.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer used a speech at the Confederation of British Industry conference to blame Chancellor Rishi Sunak for delaying a second lockdown.

Earlier on Monday, ministers and officials from the UK government and the devolved administrations were given a scientific briefing at a meeting of the emergency COBRA committee, chaired by senior cabinet minister Michael Gove.

Wales is currently within its own 17-day “firebreak” lockdown, with First Minister Mark Drakeford setting out the new rules that will apply once the shutdown ends.

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