He said the scheme was “one of the most generous in the world” but it is not expected to pay out until the start of June at the earliest.
The government will pay the self-employed a taxable grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits over the last three years, up to £2,500 a month, under the scheme.
It will be open to anyone with trading profits of up to £50,000, which the Chancellor said covered 95% of the UK’s five million self-employed workforce.
He said the last 5% have average incomes of over £200,000, adding: “It is a very generous scheme”.
The plans will be a lifeline to many in the hospitality industry, including small street food traders.
According to the British Beer and Pub Association, 85% of pubs are small or medium-sized businesses run by licensees or independent operators who are self-employed.
BBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement and said many publicans had seen their personal incomes “dry up” as a result of the forced shutdown.
The government has faced criticism for failing to offer support to the self-employed and gig economy workers unable to earn money in the current crisis.
The plan offers some parity with the Job Retention Scheme announced last week, which will see the government cover 80% of employee salaries, up to £2,500 a month.