MASSAGE therapist Juliette Easter has had to borrow £200 from her teenage son to get her through this month after coronavirus forced her to shut her business.
The 47-year-old would normally earn up to £600 a week from Mobile Massage – her north London business which she has run for three years.
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But now Juliette has turned to borrowing cash from her son Joshua, 18, as debts which she would normally have expected to pay easily have gone unpaid.
She told The Sun: “My last client was two weeks ago and I only have £100 in my account.
“I reckon I can survive another three days with bills incoming.
“But there’s been nothing for people like me. I pay my taxes, I declare my earnings, I try and do everything right, but I’ve had no help.
“Obviously a mum never wants to borrow cash from her son, but I have gone from a thriving business to zero in just a month.
“I don't feel good about borrowing from my son, but we need that cash for the house and he knows he'll get it back as soon as I get my first job when work starts again."
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to unveil help for self-employed workers today during the government’s latest update on coronavirus.
But workers may have to wait until the end of May for emergency cash.
That leaves the millions of self-employed workers with big gaps in their finances to fill.
Five million people are currently classed as self-employed in the UK.
What help has already been announced for workers?
THE government has announced the following help for employees and self-employed workers in the UK.
Increased Universal Credit payments
The Universal Credit standard allowance is being increased by £1,000 a year, as of April 6.
This is on top of a planned increase linked to inflation.
The Universal Credit standard allowance is the amount you're paid each month, but you may be entitled to more than this depending on your age and circumstances.
The standard allowance currently ranges between £251.77 and £498.89.
Minimum income floor suspended
In addition, the government has suspended the self-employed Universal Credit minimum income floor.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak says this will help more self-employed people access the benefit at a rate equivalent to statutory sick pay for workers, which is at least £94.25 a week.
The Universal Credit minimum income floor applies to those who've been self-employed for more than a year.
It's the amount you're thought to earn each month, and is used to work out how much Universal Credit you get on top of your earnings.
VAT holiday and self-assessment payments delayed
VAT payments have been delayed from now until June 30.
Workers have also been given longer to pay their income tax.
Payments due in July 2020 under self assessment will now not have to be paid until January 2021.
You may also be entitled to loan, mortgage and credit card payment holidays, as well as having interest or fees on debts frozen.
Contact your financial provider to see what they can offer.
Juliette adds: “I had to buy a new car recently – as a mobile masseur I can’t work without one – and I am paying £360 a month on car finance.
“Halifax has kindly given me a three month holiday on my mortgage, but, with no idea when the shutdown ends, how long does that last for?
“I also have around £400 monthly loan repayments already and there is no freeze on that.
“I have a credit card with a small debt on it, but while the credit company has frozen that debt because of the virus, they have also frozen the card so I can’t spend on it.”
The government has made a range of changes to benefits, including suspending the minimum income floor and increasing the standard allowance on Universal Credit.
It also announced that VAT would be suspended and that self-assessment tax forms were being delayed.
The measures were designed to help self-employed workers – but Juliette feels they do not go far enough.
She said: “I know they need to consider people’s individual situations and if those people have savings put away.
“But if they gave a blanket £350 a week out to people – a lot less than staff workers get – that would help people from today.
“I worry if they simply replace existing earnings I'll suffer because – while my first business year was good – my last year been hit because of expenses such as a new car and courses to improve my business.”
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