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‘You have not been forgotten’: self-employed equestrians to benefit from government support

Self-employed people in the equestrian industry will benefit from a range of measures announced by the chancellor today (26 March) in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Rishi Sunak today set out the protection to be offered, which he said will benefit 95% of people who make the majority of their living from self-employment.

These people will be eligible for a taxable grant worth 80% of their average monthly income, calculated over the past three years, up to £2,500 per month. This will run for three months initially, and be extended if necessary.

It is hoped this will be available by the start of June. HMRC will contact eligible people, who will have to fill in an online form to allow the money to be paid into their bank accounts.

“You have not been forgotten,” Mr Sunak said. “We will not leave you behind.”

Self-employed people can also apply for the business interruption loan, while self-assessment payments due in July can be deferred until next January. Self-employed people will also be able to access universal credit in full. Anyone who missed the January self-assessment deadline has four weeks from today to submit a tax return.

Lucy Katan, executive director of the British Grooms Association (BGA) and Equestrian Employers Association (EEA), has warned that those who are employed in yards, not in accordance with the law, could lose out.

She explained that, as has been found in previous BGA and EEA research, a large number of grooms in the industry are in false self-employment; they are told by employers they are self-employed when legally, this is not the case.

Such people may not be eligible for the measures outlined today.

“The employment status of grooms is critical in determining what government support is available at this challenging time,” she told H&H.

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“If one has been told by an employer that they are ‘self-employed’, yet have not registered themselves as such with HMRC, sadly that individual will not be eligible for this self-employed package, nor government support for the employed ie furlough.

“We recommend applying for universal credit in this circumstance.”

Ms Katan added: “There will be a lot of people very concerned they’re going to miss out, and I just hope they all make it through this.”

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