By Jason Douglas
LONDON--U.K. Treasury chief Rishi Sunak unveiled a financial-support scheme for Britain's self-employed, addressing a perceived gap in the government's response to the economic pain caused by the new coronavirus.
Around 5 million of the U.K.'s 33 million-strong workforce are self-employed, according to official data, meaning they weren't included in a government plan announced earlier this month to cover 80% of employees' salaries for three months, provided their employers don't lay them off.
Mr. Sunak said under the new plan, self-employed workers can apply for grants equivalent to 80% of their average profits, with a cap on the monthly payouts of 2,500 pounds ($2,957). Payments to cover employees' salaries are also capped at that level. Self-employed workers will be able to access the cash no later than early June, Mr. Sunak said. Meanwhile, government loans and beefed-up welfare payments are available to those in urgent need, he added.
The plan adds to a broad package of measures to support the economy, financed by extra borrowing that Mr. Sunak described as "unprecedented in the history of the British state." The Bank of England has cut interest rates to a record low and lined up billions of pounds of loans for banks and businesses.
Write to Jason Douglas at firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
March 26, 2020 14:01 ET (18:01 GMT)
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