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Economy Minister Diane Dodds has welcomed the support package for self-employed workers that was announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak today.

The measure means that self-employed workers can receive 80% of their taxable profit over the last three years capped at £2,500 per month. It will apply to those with trading profits below £50,000 per year.

Minister Dodds said: “This is a much needed measure which we have been asking for on behalf tens of thousands of people in Northern Ireland and I welcome it.

“The self-employed and sole traders have been waiting to receive the help. Previous schemes announced by the Treasury did not apply to them. So it is heartening that those workers - in all areas of our society - can now access the vital funds they need to keep going until this crisis ends. This will have a positive impact on many self-employed workers”

The Minister added: “My priority is to mitigate – as best we possibly can - against the worst effects on our communities.

“Our local Executive, as well as the government in London, have already announced several measures to help; interruption loan schemes, rates support, deferring income tax payments and deferring VAT payments. The Job Retention Scheme which provides up to £2,500 a month to those employees not working and increases to both working tax credit and universal credit by £1,000 per year will also help to protect our most vulnerable.

“As well as this, the first payments in the small business support grant schemes will reach recipients next week.”

The Minister concluded: “We will continue to do everything we can to protect the livelihoods that support our families and communities.”