SELF-employed workers have welcomed the chancellor’s aid to see them through the coronavirus crisis – but some are wondering how they will meet their bills until June.

Rishi Sunak said the government would pay up to £2,500 a month in grants to freelancers affected by the pandemic.

The payments will be worth 80 per cent of their average monthly profits over the past three years.

But the money may not arrive until June and there was nothing for those who have only gone self-employed recently, or who operate as limited companies.

Freelance photographer Zelda de Hollander, who runs Studio Shotz in Christchurch, said: “Honestly, the overwhelming feeling is relief. I’m just happy that we are being looked after and that we hadn’t been forgotten about.

“Having to wait until June is not ideal, but I totally understand that things need to be set up. Looking on the bright side, our July tax payments have been deferred until January 2021, so I’m using that to live off for the time being.”

She added: “The self-employed are usually the first to get postponed, cancelled or pushed back when times get tough. My first coronavirus cancellation was a conference I was due to shoot last week, cancelled in early March when the virus was still in single digits in the UK.

“Within a 48-hour period last week, my schedule for the rest of the year had just vanished.”

James Simpson, consultant at Bournemouth recruiter the TalentPool Company, said: “The chancellor spoke at length about fairness and being there for everyone, but there are a huge number of self-employed or limited company contractors who will receive no help from this initiative.

“As it stands, a contractor – for example, a maternity cover sales, marketing, HR or finance manager – paid via their limited company may have lost that contract, so zero income, whilst a PAYE colleague in the same grade will get furloughed and receive £2,500 monthly.”

He said a “cash in hand” tradesman who had not declared their full profits “will likely sneak under the £50,000 cap and receive £2,500 per month”.

Sam Isham, web designer at Ethos Technology in Bournemouth, said: “I feel it seems fair in the sense that we will get some kind of payout but to wait until June is going to be tough. But with not going out or being able to spend much, then most should be able to scrape through.

“The one question I have is that if they plan on levelling out the tax and National Insurance after all of this, will it then entitle us to sick and maternity pay like all employed are?”

Anne-Marie Fast, owner of Chroma Stationery in Broadstone, said: “Unfortunately, those of us with limited company status fall into a massive void. I understand there will never be a solution that covers everyone but it’s going to be tough on a lot of people.”

Nicola Bailey, Dorset development manager for the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “This is a time of national emergency, and it is very welcome that the government has listened to FSB and responded with a multi-billion-pound package to support the most financially vulnerable entrepreneurs, and to do so through the self-assessment system.”

She added: “Although the deal is not perfect, the government has moved a very long way.”