SCOTLAND'S self-employed workers might have had to wait longer for their Government financial support package announcement, but some have welcomed the deal on the table.

Caroline Wylie, who runs Glasgow-based Virtually Sorted, which is an online virtual assistant firm, said she is one of the companies who will benefit from Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak's announcement on Thursday night.

She set up her business in 2004 and has already survived one financial crisis.

"Virtually remote admin is almost recession proof. The last time we went into financial meltdown in the UK in 2007/08, we actually did not too badly. It went quiet a little bit but on the whole people readjusted and we saw the benefit of that once things got moving again,"said Mrs Wylie.

"I think personally the same is going to happen here. That is not to say it isn't going to be a challenge, but the Chancellor's measures for self-employed people is very welcome."

Following the announcement, self-employed workers can apply for a grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits to help them cope with the financial impact of coronavirus.

The money - up to a maximum of £2,500 a month - will be paid in a single lump sum, but will not begin to arrive until the start of June at the earliest.

Mrs Wylie, who also runs the UK Society of Virtual Assistants, added: "One of the problems is that the grant will not come through until June. And this is at a time when the self-employed are working from home even more so, they will still have personal and professional bills, for some that could be a real problem as they have got to try to keep their businesses running.

"I am a sole trader. I have just paid tax for this year as it is the end of the tax year. With having to keep cash flowing until June, I may have to cut business and personal expenses.

"There is also a problem in that you are relying on small businesses being able to get through these three months. I am not sure there are businesses who have that provision and it could be pretty hairy as to whether some businesses come out the other side."

Self-employed energy assessor Shirley Paterson, who runs Glenrothes-based NextGenergy, says she will also qualify for the grant.

She said: "I certainly have my three years of accounts which I will be able to provide and albeit the grant is not arriving until June, we are grateful for anything. Part of my business is going out to people's homes to asses their energy efficiency, but this week most of my work has been things I have been able to do at home. I do feel for some people who are self-employed and will struggle through this period."

There are some restrictions around the self-employed deal.

At least half their income needs to have come from self-employment as registered on the 2018-19 tax return filed in January - anyone who missed the filing deadline has four weeks from now to get it done and still qualify.

The scheme is open to those who earn under £50,000 a year - up to 3.8 million of the 5 million people registered as self-employed.

Unlike the employee scheme, the self-employed can continue to work as they receive support.

The money, backdated to March, will arrive directly into people's banks accounts from HMRC, but not until June.

Figures released by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Scotland show that there are thousands of self-employed people in every Scottish local authority area that could require income support during the coronavirus outbreak.

Official statistics show that there are more than 320,000 self-employed people in Scotland. Glasgow has more people that work for themselves than any other Scottish local authority, more than 29,000. However rural Scotland – like Highland council area – has a disproportionately high number of people who are self-employed compared to population. The area has a total of 16,700 self-employed.

Andrew McRae, Federation of Small Business’s Scotland policy chair, said: “Up and down Scotland the self-employed make a vital contribution to their local communities and economies. And this current crisis has hit everyone from the city centre taxi driver to the rural tour guide. That’s why we’ve been spearheading calls for the Chancellor to put in place new help for people like the local piano teacher, the independent journalist and the driving instructor. By any measure, the self-employed deserve similar help to the rest of the working population."