COVID-19: Advice for tradespeople


The UK government has said that tradespeople can carry out essential repairs and maintenance in people’s homes, providing they are well and have no symptoms.

No work should be carried out by a tradesperson who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild, or when someone in their own household has symptoms.

The UK government has issued guidance tailored for tradespeople which you can read here as well as detailed guidance on the specific steps tradespeople should take to work safely which you can read here.

In addition, the governments of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have issued their own guidance.

The government is offering testing to workers from specific occupations who think they have coronavirus symptoms, including construction workers and emergency plumbers. You can find out about getting tested here.

If this advice changes we will aim to update this page as quickly as we can, otherwise check the current general UK government guidance directly here.

Accessing government help

Help for the self-employed 

The Chancellor has pledged support for self-employed workers in the form of a taxable grant of up to £2,500 per month. The Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme will be available to the self-employed or partnerships for three months in one lump-sum payment from the beginning of June. More details are available here.

If you’re an employer

If you run your own company with salaried employees, the UK government announced that you’ll be able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) - up to two weeks for each employee taking sick leave due to COVID-19. The UK government also announced that it will provide grants to cover up to 80% of the salary of retained workers, up to a value of £2,500 a month. More details are available here.

If you have a business property

If you run your trade business from an office or workshop and claim Small Business Rate Relief or Rural Rate Relief, new funding will be available to local authorities, giving a £10,000 grant to help meet ongoing business costs. Businesses in some sectors such as hospitality and retail will be given a business rate holiday and access to larger grants, but at the moment this will not apply to trade businesses.

Other help

Universal Credit and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

You’ll be eligible to claim contribution-based ESA if you are unable to work if you have paid class 1 National Insurance contributions. For self-employed people this would not apply as sole traders can only pay Class 2 or Class 4 contributions, depending on profit levels. For self-employed tradespeople the most applicable financial safety net is Universal Credit.

The minimum income floor for Universal Credit is being removed for the time being. If you’ve been running your business for a year or more, the government works out your claim based on your average earnings - if you earned over a certain amount, you would receive less credit. Removing this minimum income floor means some claimants will get extra money to make up lost earnings.

The Universal Credit standard allowance will also be increased for the next 12 months by £1,000 a year.

Help with personal finances

If you’re concerned about paying your mortgage or keeping up with loan repayments, contact your lender as soon as possible - the government has said that lenders will allow three-month “mortgage holidays” where you won’t have to pay your mortgage, with the sum added to the rest of your term. This won’t affect your credit score but it is important to remember that you will be accruing interest on the deferred payment. Banks are also open to waiving fees for missed payments and cutting charges for accessing savings in fixed-term accounts.

There will also be a £500m Hardship Fund to support people with council tax, distributed by local authorities.

At the moment, no specific help has been offered for renters, though the government has said it will bring forward laws that will protect private renters from eviction.

Tax advice

If you're self-employed, your next self-assessment payments will be deferred until January 2021.

The next quarter of VAT payments is also being deferred to help businesses retain staff. No businesses will have to pay VAT from now until the middle of June, and you'll have until the end of the financial year to repay those bills.

The government has set up a dedicated helpline for self-employed people and businesses. Based on your current circumstances, they may be able to assist with setting up installment plans for payments, suspending debt collection and cancelling penalties. The helpline will be open from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday, and 8am to 4pm on Saturdays, with 2,000 call handlers available. You can reach it on 0800 0159 559.

Summary

MyBuilder will remain open, but in line with UK government advice our office staff are working from home, and like many other businesses, many of us will be juggling childcare with work over the coming weeks. We might not always be able to respond to enquiries as quickly as we’d like, so please only get in touch with urgent queries so we can help those who need it most.

We know homeowners are keen to support local businesses, like tradespeople, wherever they can, and that some jobs will need to be done regardless of what else is going on. Similarly, many people at home will be posting jobs to be done in future, so you can fill your calendar in the months ahead. MyBuilder has always been designed to be flexible, so you’re able to manage your work in line with how busy you are.

We’ll update this guide with any more useful advice as it comes up.

15 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for that info.

    I didn’t know half of that.

    Much appreciated.

  2. Thanks very much for your help cheers mick thompson tiler

  3. Use the phone and email to arrange outside work without even having to knock on the door.

  4. Very helpful, thanks, Sean

  5. Thanks guys, very useful information 👍

  6. Great advice and help great service thanks

  7. Its all bad news. Work has dried up and looking at giving up being self employed. Good luck to any one who carries on

  8. Thanks for setting out the info as you have.

  9. Great bit of advice and information from the MyBuilder team, that's helped me out a lot.

    Many Thanks
    David W Shearer
    DWS71 Electrical Limited

  10. Thank you for posting this advice it is very helpful.

  11. i am a sub contract bricklayer what can i claim when i am not being able to work and how can i sort my council tax out

  12. At the moment house owners are putting back work been done on their homes including extensions, Due to uncertain future earning's, Looks like people like me are in for hard times

  13. Sole traders working in the domestic sector are going to get hit hard by this. Even those with clients still willing to continue can't get materials as the merchants shut.. I've been off with suspected symptoms and now I have no means of an income or a tangible support bail out.. I dread to think how things will turnout if the clampdown continues..

  14. Thank you for your advice much appreciated

  15. Thanks for the great advice

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