SELF-employed people in Bury are being urged to file tax returns quickly or to access universal credit support as hardship caused by the coronavirus pandemic bites.

This follows the government’s announcement of financial support for the UK’s five million self-employed.

Growth and startup lead at the Manchester-based Growth Company, Hilary Centeleghe, leads on Enterprising You, a new partnership between her outfit and PeoplePlus, to support up to 2,500 of the city-region’s self-employed people and gig workers.

She said: “The coronavirus outbreak has already had a major and unprecedented impact on business in Greater Manchester and the whole of the UK, as well as international business networks.

“While around 104,000 Greater Manchester businesses and employees were bolstered by the Job Retention Scheme announced by Government last week, more than 180,000 self-employed people across the region have been waiting patiently for a similar package of financial support.

“The launch of the Self Employed Income Support Scheme will hopefully offer reassurance to self-employed people and ‘gig economy’ workers across the region, helping them find more stable footing in the short term, while keeping their growth ambitions on track for the future.

“Self-employed people who have been trading less than a year and are not eligible for the scheme, should remember that they can still receive financial support through the expansion of universal credit.

“Those that are able to file tax returns for the 2018/19 financial year should do so as soon as possible to be eligible for up to 80 per cent of their average monthly profits in a cash lump sum. This new support scheme will involve careful calculations to ensure fairness is delivered across the board."

She said the Growth Company was working on "detailed guidance" for those affected.