Covid Credit is a proof of concept to demonstrate how open banking data could support freelancers in the COVID-19 economic crisis. The UK Government announced an historic level of support for PAYE employees who find themselves without work because of COVID-19 (furloughed employees) will receive up to 80% of their income or £2,500 (whichever is lower). This support does not cover millions of self-employed workers in the UK that make significant contributions to the UK economy.
The Covid Credit proof of concept asks for your personal circumstances (e.g. you are a sole trader but have recently lost income or work due to the COVID-19 crisis). It then asks you to login to your bank account via Open Banking to retrieve 12 months’ worth of transaction history to verify regular income generated by your activities as a sole trader in the past. This will be used to provide a reasonable estimate of lost future income.
By collecting historic banking data it is possible to prove previous income to be eligible for income relief from the UK Government. Our objective is to demonstrate this for the UK Government in the hope this can help those in need in a time of crisis.
In this proof of concept only “sole traders” are supported. We understand that this excludes a whole range of other self-employed workers in the UK (for example, those set up as limited companies or in unregistered partnerships), but limited companies involve more complexity. If this proof of concept is adopted for use by the UK Government, we intend to further build out the service to capture as many self-employed workers as possible. Having created this proof of concept in a single weekend the team are open to all ways to improve the platform.
At this stage, the UK Government has not announced any income support for the self-employed. An intended consequence of this proof of concept is that HM Government may look to introduce this service (or a service like it). Whilst you can access Universal Credit, we would encourage you to write to your MP to make them aware of this project.
Covid Credit is creating a self attestation that someone is self employed as a sole trader and has lost work. It’s intended to give HMRC a high degree of confidence that someone
HMRC may have some of this data already but there is no process for certification of COVID-19 related losses. This was simplified in the case of furloughed workers by placing the responsibility on the employers directly.
Covid Credit allows sole traders to self-certify in a simple and easy to use format. Covid Credit could in future cross reference with HMRC, saving time and effort at HM Government if they were to adopt this service. This would mean sole traders could get paid sooner, offers HMRC would a reliable and secure way of verifying income (reducing their administrative overheads), and economic hardship is reduced.
A furloughed worker is a full time employee of a company whose employment by the company has been discontinued. Furloughed workers are entitled to 80% of their salary to be granted by the government (up to £2,500) during the coronavirus crisis. Currently, self-employed individuals do not qualify for the furloughed worker relief offered by the government.
At this stage it’s unclear. The team is working to get something in front of the right decision makers asap. However there are no guarantees. If you can support in any way please get in touch at email@example.com