The chancellor has announced that self-employed people will be able to claim a grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits – up to £2,500 a month.

Rishi Sunak said the support for those affected by the coronavirus crisis would be in place for at least three months and amounted to “one of the most generous packages in the world”.

Unveiling the measures at a Downing Street news conference, the chancellor said the scheme was open to anyone with trading profits of up to £50,000.

But it will only be available to those who make the majority of their income from self-employment and who filed a tax return for 2019.

This would ensure only the “genuinely self-employed” benefit from the scheme and minimise the risk of fradusters applying for help, Mr Sunak added.

The chancellor said the support would help 95% of people who are majority self-employed, with Mr Sunak saying those who were not eligible had average earnings of more than £200,000.

Prior to Thursday’s news conference, the government had been under growing pressure to support the self-employed with a similar package of measures as introduced for employed workers.

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