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Chancellor announces changes to Job Support Scheme with more funds going to freelance workers

The scheme will see extra funds go to qualifying freelancers and more money for companies with full-time workers returning part-time

Two people talking backstage during a set-up

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced that grants for self-employed workers hit by the pandemic will be doubled to a value of 40 per cent of average earnings, with further amends to the Job Support Scheme (JSS).

The self-employment scheme (SEISS) has been used to help those unable to get work during the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, and was extended earlier this year in line with the JSS.

Following outcry over the value of the freelance support measures (which would equate to qualifying applicants receiving 20 per cent of their average monthly earnings), the Chancellor has doubled the value of the SEISS for future earnings to 40 per cent, with a maximum grant of £3,750 a month.

The government has also altered the terms of the Job Support Scheme, with employers now having to pay for a minimum of 20 per cent of usual hours worked alongside 5 per cent of hours not worked – while the government will fund 62 per cent of wages for hours not worked.

This will be available across the UK, and comes about as a result of the increased number of restrictions, particularly for those companies hit by curfews or limits on households meeting indoors.

A variety of industry leaders lambasted the Chancellor for his original scheme, with producer Sonia Friedman labelling it an "insult" to the creative sectors.

Issues still remain, with large swatches of the freelance workforce remaining unable to qualify for the freelance support schemes due to the nature of their income. Today it was revealed that 170,000 jobs in the live music sector may be lost by Christmas.

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