Some 2.8 million people took advantage of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) in the last year, the latest figures have revealed.

The research, published by HM Treasury, provides an update on the success of the coronavirus support schemes and reflects on the impact of the Government’s Plan for Jobs.

According to the figures, more than 2.8 million self-employed workers, freelancers, contractors and micro-business owners took advantage of the landmark SEISS scheme, which has so far provided £24 billion in financial support.

It comes as the fourth round of grants closed to new applications this month, with the fifth and final instalment set to become available from “late July”.

The figures also reveal that some 11.5 million employees and 1.3 million employers were supported during the pandemic by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

The furlough scheme – which covers up to 80 per cent of employee income – will remain in place until the end of September to “ensure jobs are protected as businesses get back on their feet”.

Across the jobs market, meanwhile, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) data shows that the number of payrolled employees jumped by nearly 100,000 in April – indicating the success of the Kickstart scheme for young people.

Commenting on the figures, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said: “Today’s data is another welcome sign that our Plan for Jobs is working and that the route we have taken is the right one.

“These figures show the scheme is naturally winding down as people get back to work and take advantage of the opportunities out there in the jobs market.

“We’ll continue to support those who need it through to September but I am hopeful that we’ll see more people moving back in to work as we continue on the road to recovery.”

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